Food Share Program Is Given New Life

July 16, 2013

Low-inclome clients line up for free produce at Western South Dakota Community Action in Rapid City.


The DLFN Food Share Program, now known as Back to Basics, has survived federal funding cutbacks at Western SD Community Action, the agency that manages the program.

CAP employee Greg Essary purchases unsold fresh produce near closing time at the Black Hills Farmers Market Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The food is stored in a walk-in cooler at the CAP facility on Lombardy Lane in Rapid City and distributed to low-income people Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.

The CAP office accepts produce from other farmers as well. Contact Greg at 381-9846 for more information.

Food Share Future Uncertain

June 28, 2013

Jed Beadle buys squash and tomatoes at the Black Hills Farmers Market in October 2012.



The Rapid City Food Share Program, an enterprise created by Dakota Local Food Network in 2011, is not functioning in 2013.

In 2011 private funds were donated for the purpose of buying unsold produce at the Black Hills Farmers Market and giving that food to local agencies that serve the poor. Back then it was an all-volunteer program that had a lot of support from farmers and all the agencies involved.

In 2012 Western South Dakota Community Action (CAP) took over the program. They received a grant of state money to buy local food, created a full-time position, and hired farmer Jed Beadle to mange the program. At the end of market days he purchased unsold produce and delivered it to the CAP building, where it was given out to CAP clients three days a week.

In early June  Jed’s position was eliminated, and the program ceased to exist.

That’s all we know.

Three Farmers Honored for Supporting Food Independence Program

April 24, 2013

At the Black Hills Farmers Market meeting April 18 three people were honored for their support of what was once the Food Share program and became the Food Independence Program.

Dale Casteel proudly shows his award at the Black Hills Farmers Market Meeting.

Food Share, a DLFN 2011 project, involved three volunteers who raised money in the community to buy fresh produce and take donated food from the Black Hills Farmers Market and give it to agencies that serve low-income people. It was a huge success. Farmers sold more produce and didn’t have to take unsold perishables home, and low-income people received fresh high quality food. In 2012 Western SD Community Action, a local organization that serves the poor, took over the program. Community Action hired a full-time coordinator for the program and applied for grant money so they could purchase more food and expand beyond giving food away to educating people to be food independent.

At the Community action facility in Rapid City a high tunnel for gardening classes is under construction, and gardening classes are being scheduled.

Nicole Krautschun and April Yenglin receive their award from Western South Dakota Community Action.

The three honorees at the BHFM meeting have been strong supporters of the Food Share/Food Independence Program. Two years ago at the BHFM meeting when the Food Share idea was first proposed, Dale Casteel of DC Gardens said, ”Great idea! Let’s do it!” Inspired by his enthusiasm the market came on board and has participated ever since. Dale, famous for his colorful peppers and eggplants, donated 1744 pounds of those vegetables plus cucumbers and squash in 2012.

Nicole Krautschun, owner of Spearfish Valley Produce, and her manager April Yenglin, in 2012 donated 2432 pounds of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and squash. When asked why they would give their food away, Nicole said, “We don’t want it to go to waste—we want people to get it.”


25 Tons of Local Healthy Produce to the Hungry

February 21, 2013

Jed Beadle shops for produce on the last day of the Black Hills Farmers Market in Rapid City

In the last issue of the Western SD Community Action newsletter author Harold Storsve wrote about the food that was produced in 2012 by local farmers and made available to the needy. He calculates that 49,478 pounds of fresh produce was purchased from farmers or donated by farmers to Community Action. The food was distributed to 3,093 low-income people.

Now called the Food Independence Project, the program was, in Harold’s words, “conceived, in part, as a response to proposed draconian cuts in food programs for the poor at the national level and the increasing instability of supply through the USDA commodities programs administered by WSDCAA. In anticipation of what could be serious shortages of affordable, quality food for low-income families through government safety-net programs, the Agency began to explore ways to support local alternatives.”

DLFN takes pride in being the organization that got this initiative off the ground. In 2011, working as the all-volunteer Food Share program, we raised money, purchased local produce, and donated that produce to several local agencies that work with people in need. Our goals were to help local farmers who need customers and help hungry people who can’t afford vine-ripened tomatoes or fresh sweet corn.

In 2012 WSDCAA built on the Food Share program, raised additional funds, and hired a full-time manager to do the purchasing and distribution. We at DLFN were happy to hand off Food Share to a better-funded organization so that we can pursue other opportunities for local food production—backyard chickens, for example, or front yard vegetable gardens.


Food Sustainability Program Continues through the Winter

November 19, 2012
Jed Beadle

Jed Beadle buys unsold food at the Black Hills Farmers Market on October 30, the last day of the market.

What started out as the Dakota Local Food Network Food Share program in 2011 morphed into the CAP Food Independence Program in 2012. Both programs have similar goals: (1) helping farmers by purchasing from them unsold produce at a reduced price, (2) providing free high quality food to low income people, and (3) helping people become familiar with local vegetables they may never have eaten. This year the name was changed because a fourth goal was added: providing education on how to cook, preserve, and grow vegetables.

The Western South Dakota Community Action Program, also known as CAP, has taken over Food Share, changed the name, and added the fourth goal because, in the words of director Linda Edel, “We don’t want the program to be just about free food.”

To implement the 2012 program CAP hired Jed Beadle to purchase and distribute food and received a grant from the state to fund food purchases. CAP works with Feeding South Dakota (the Food Bank) to share information and surplus food. This year CAP distributed food to people living in and around Rapid City. Next year they plan to broaden distribution to other counties in West River.

Currently CAP workers are looking for local sources of dried beans and lentils to supplement the winter squash they purchased after the farmers markets closed.

The long-term plan for the program is, as the name suggests, to help people grow and preserve their own food. Community gardens are part of the plan, along with classes on cooking, canning, freezing, and drying. At the CAP facility a certified kitchen is under construction and will be available for classes next season.


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