Sharing the Surplus

Photo: Tim Foster

Writer: Madeline Cisneros

In Iowa, we’re surrounded by farms that feed the world. But sometimes it takes a little creativity to close the loop and help feed people right here at home. Here are two examples of folks who are going the extra mile to help.

Grow Another Row

When the pandemic swept the world in 2020, food insecurity increased in Iowa, just like everywhere else. Even an ordinary trip to the grocery store became a calculated risk. A group of growers in Cass County decided to help by creating a program called Grow Another Row Cass County.

The group has installed stands throughout the county, where anyone can bring what they have and take what they need. Volunteers help distribute donations as equally as possible to all the stands.

“We encourage people, if you’re planting a garden, plant an extra row and donate that produce,” said Grow Another Row co-founder Emily Paulsen of Brun Ko Farm near Atlantic. “I really just hope that people get nutritious foods and that they know that there are people in their community who care about them.”

Corn4aCause

When Ciara Hoegh of rural Atlantic planted an acre of sweetcorn on her family farm, she ended up with more corn than she could handle. When she asked around about how to donate the surplus, she realized how much it was needed, so she started Corn4aCause.

“We donate as much as we sell,” she said. “We welcome people out to the farm to help pick it. We’re not big enough to have, like, a sweetcorn combine, so we pick it by hand.”

People can help by simply buying the farm’s corn, as well as visiting the farm to help with the harvest. Corn4aCause also takes donations to help pay for harvesting and transportation.

“Food insecurity is a real deal even where the corn is so incredibly plentiful,” Hoegh said

Iowa Stops Hunger is an ongoing initiative by Business Publications Corp. to raise awareness of food insecurity and inspire action to combat it.

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