Hunger Free North Dakota works to provide fresh produce

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For a state that produces so much agriculture, it may surprise you to know that North Dakota has a hunger problem. One-in-nine people needs some help from food banks and other charitable sources every year.

The problem with food pantries is that they often can afford to give out mostly non-perishables.

Hunger Free North Dakota is working to provide fresh produce to those who otherwise may not be able to afford it.

These kids are picking corn to help feed nearly 3,400 children in the state who rely on charity to eat, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

"It makes me feel happy that I helped them to give them food to eat," said Trudy Frank, Mandan.

"Even though people are hot tired and sweaty after three or four hours, they just have this enormous smile on their face and at the end of the day, this sense of accomplishment," said Doug Goehring, North Dakota agriculture commissioner.

Volunteers are hoping to pick 70,000 ears of corn.

"To be able to provide fresh, nutritious product that often times gets scratched off the grocery list when you're living on limited income or limited means truly is a gift," said Marcia Paulson, Great Plains Food Bank.

Lincoln-Oakes Nursery donated the land to grow the corn and are helping to harvest it. Once Great Plains takes it away, the corn will be distributed across the state.

"It's just awesome. It's really neat to be a part of something. Our employees are taking a real liking to it too. It's just nice to be able to produce a great crop," said Brian Johnston, CEO of Lincoln-Oakes Nursery.

Hunger Free organizers hope to distribute more than a quarter-million pounds of produce this year. Since its start in 2010, the project has provided about a million-and-a-half pounds of fresh food.

If you have some food you'd like to donate or would otherwise like to get involved, go to

A list of places where you can donate food is attached to this article.