When times get tough, farmers are well known for picking themselves and others up by their bootstraps. The Great Plains Food Bank (GPFB) announced their partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture on a new and short-term Farmers to Families (F2F) Food Box program intended to help give food to those in need.
The organization will be hosting an event in Dickinson on Thursday, July 16, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Henry Biesiot Activities Center.
Since the beginning of June F2F has been partnering with farmers to help sell their products and get it into the hands of those that need it most. On July 16, the GPFB will be bringing a semi-load of prepackaged high-quality produce for both families and just individuals that are in dire need to pick up.
“We’re working to move this product to surrounding areas and to folks within Dickinson,” Rachel Monge, the regional services manager for the GPFB, said. “The food for this program is being bought up by the USDA and is buying it from farmers, who would otherwise be selling it to restaurants, or schools that weren’t open or weren’t at full capacity to be able to keep up with that market. This is to make sure that their food is getting bought up and it’s getting out to folks who are in need.”
Monge confirmed there will be seven types of produces available. Potatoes, apples, onions, celery, lettuce and cucumbers have been confirmed to be part of the produce boxes.
Monge stated there are no income guidelines and people do not have to be pre registered or signed up to be given food from the organization.
“We allow folks to pick up for others that they know could use it, or might be homebound during quarantine, on several occasions we’ve had people come and pick up 10 boxes and then deliver to folks in their neighborhood. Any way we can get the food to folks, we’ll work with anyone and any other ideas,” Monge said.
Since farmers were struggling to sell their products, the USDA and the GPFB came together to help create the F2F. Since June 1 the F2F has been helping the citizens of North Dakota community, helping farmers sell their goods while helping put their products into the hands, and stomachs, of those in need.
“We've done like 24, 25 distributions I think in June,” Monge said. “It’s been running for the whole month of June. And then it will go through the month of August … We’ve been to Bismarck three times, Dickinson twice, Williston twice, all five reservations, weekly, Devils Lake, Grand Forks, Fargo, Moorhead, Jamestown, Minot, Valley City.”
While some participants may be unable to be at the event on July 16, the F2F program will return to the Dickinson area on Thursday, July 30.
The F2F and the GPFB credits Dickinson State University for their participation.
“This wouldn’t be running as well it is without the partnership with Dickinson State University and the Biseout Activities Center,” Monge said. “Their partnership is key to having a large, safe space to be able to do this distribution.”
For more information, check out the Great Plains Food Bank Facebook page, visit greatplainsfoodbank.org, or call Rachel Monge at 701-390-2513.