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The community of Bismarck has been challenged to grow 8000 pounds of garden produce to share with food pantries. The challenge is from the Hunger-Free ND Garden Project. In partnership with community gardeners, Bismarck Burleigh Public Health has agreed to coordinate the Bismarck Community Hunger-Free Garden, located near the existing community garden plots, west of the Municipal Ball Park. Soil preparation will be completed by the Bismarck Park District but citizens or group volunteers are needed to pull weeds, water plants, and harvest. Families or groups are asked to volunteer for a week or a month and together do what is needed, to help make the Hunger-Free Bismarck Garden Project a success. Individuals, organizations, or groups interested in taking a turn in this project, to be added to the growing season schedule, or for more information regarding a pledge card and signage labeling, should call Wanda at 355-1540. Volunteers are needed beginning the first week in June and ending at the first frost. Farmer Market grower Bonnie Munsch, has agreed to donate seeds for the Hunger-Free Bismarck Garden. Harvested produce will be weighed and donated to Bismarck food pantries, allowing them to include fresh produce in food baskets.
The statewide project was announced March 3 by the N.D. Department of Agriculture and NDSU Extension Service. Many large and small communities are taking the challenge, as are many individuals. The intent is to make fresh produce available at existing charitable food distribution sites across the State. It is reported that each week in ND, 8000 citizens receive food assistance from food pantries, soup kitchens or homeless shelters. The Hunger-Free ND Garden Project is expected to grow a minimum of 500,000 pounds of fresh foods and distribute it at 244 food pantries in North Dakota. Supporters hope the system works using local man power and existing distribution sites so fresh, healthy produce will be available to everyone. The project hopes to recognize growers and track quantities of produce donated in North Dakota, therefore all community and individual gardeners will be registered. Other Hunger-Free ND Garden partners include Healthy ND, ND Farmers Market and Growers Association, Lutheran Social Services Great Plains Food Bank, and Pride of Dakota. For more information visit Community Gardens