L2L students pick squash for food bank

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Two-hundred Valley City State University first-year students and their mentors harvested more than 50,000 pounds of produce on a farm northwest of Valley City on Thursday, Sept. 28, for distribution by the Great Plains Food Bank.Mostly squash, the 25 tons of produce also included corn, tomatoes, peppers and onions. The VCSU students picked the produce as a community service project stemming from their Learning to Live, Living to Learn (L2L) course.The squash and vegetables had been raised by Dan Faust, a retired Lutheran pastor in Valley City, on his family farm. Faust donates his harvest to the Great Plains Food Bank in Fargo, which then distributes the produce to more than 215 feeding programs run by community partners throughout North Dakota and Clay County, Minn. VCSU’s participation in the harvest dates back seven years. “It’s something we can do to help,” says Stephanie Roelfsema, director of VCSU’s L2L course. “Some our students have never been on a farm, much less participated in a service project. Picking the squash gives them an opportunity to make the connections in regard to where food comes from, their comparative bounty, and their ability to impact the lives of others in a positive way through their own sweat and labor. It’s a win-win for our students, Pastor Dan and the Great Plains Food Bank, and those who ultimately benefit from this food.”