Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

North Dakota: Feeding the hungry in a land of plenty

North Dakotans like to think they feed the world. But right now they are being encouraged to feed themselves.

Aided by its recent oil boom, North Dakota has weathered the recession better than many other states. But government officials say one in 11 of the population does not have enough to eat. Many of these people are children.

In response, the state is promoting the Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project, urging farmers and gardeners to grow and donate fruit and vegetables to food pantries and community programmes.

"Over 95% of our land is given over to fields, ranches, crops and animal production," says Karen Ehrens, a dietician and consultant to North Dakota's Department of Agriculture, which is helping to co-ordinate the project.

Susan Martin, director of a food pantry in Bismarck, North Dakota:

"Last summer we had a lady bring in fresh strawberries. And the residents were just delighted because they hadn't had fresh strawberries for years.

"And even here in our own state there were people not getting enough to eat, which was a great irony."

The scheme is in its second year. In 2011 it brought in 350,000lb (160,000kg) of fresh produce. This year, the target is 500,000lb. (read more)