Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Eating La Vida Local

All About Food | March 16th, 2022

By Olivia Slyter

oslyter@cord.edu

A movement is currently circulating around North Dakota to provide locally-raised beef in ND school lunches.

The movement was initiated by the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND) wondering how to go about donating and/or selling local beef to ND public schools. The main purpose of the movement is to create a sense of community pride. Deborah Egeland, Assistant Director of the Child Nutrition Programs in the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) explains the overall motivation of the movement:

“Kids win, farmers win, the community wins! USDA, which is who we receive federal funding from to run the NDDPI, has a corporate priority to promote farm to school efforts to encourage more students to think about careers in agriculture and have an appreciation for where their food comes from.”

To kick-off this initiative, I-BAND requested a meeting with the NDDPI, at which the NDDPI invited local food specialists to explain the requirements of the inspection of the locally-sourced beef. After the meeting, I-BAND was approved to donate $3,000 (1,000 lbs) worth of ground beef that they delivered to 13 different school districts. The beef was raved about by students and staff, and even more districts contacted the NDDPI to find out where they could get their own.

“We also contacted almost every head cook in the schools to let them know there’s alternatives to getting beef on their menus. It was a team effort from all our board members, the inspected butcher shops, the ND Dept of Ag and the ND DPI, especially Deb Egeland. And now we’re hearing from many across the state what a great idea this is,” said I-BAND Vice President Frank Tomac.

Still, many schools, parents, etc. are worried about this change. How much more would it cost? Are there health drawbacks that may occur?

I-BAND reports that it is actually cheaper for school districts to purchase their beef from local ranchers rather than processed beef. Due to the consistent rise in food prices, a local butcher would be paying less for a local cow to meet the 85-15 blend of hamburger recommended. Of course, this is subject to change in the possibility of food distributors hiring more warehouse workers, drivers, etc.

Of the price concerns, Egeland says “If the local beef were to be more expensive, at least the money is staying in the community supporting local ranchers that pay taxes to support the school. Schools are allowed to pay more for geographic preference of foods raised/grown within the local area or state.”

Two of the schools who were delivered the locally-sourced beef did a test on the local versus the processed beef they were previously buying. The results showed that the local beef had at least 7% more usable product than the processed beef, partially due to the fact that beef from local butcher shops is 100% natural beef, according to I-BAND. This can have major impacts when schools are serving hundreds of students every day.

The importance of these farm-to-table initiatives can often be overlooked. Obtaining locally-grown, fresh produce (i.e. beef) into school systems creates biosecurity. Farm-to-table meals also provide a sense of pride within communities.

In an agricultural state such as North Dakota, raising high-quality food is extremely important. This comes from advocating for local food producers that help make farm-to-table meals possible in our schools.

There are many different ways for the public to support groups like I-BAND as they participate in movements and initiatives like this one. One way to do this is by contacting your local Superintendent, head cooks at schools, and school boards, letting them know the benefits of serving locally-sourced food in schools. Educating ourselves and others about the benefits is also important. On ways to support, Tomac said the following:

“Talk with a speaker or rancher in the area telling the kids this is where this beef is coming from, and this beef you’re eating is supporting our way of life, and explain all the good the ranchers and cows are doing, by feeding the kids and maintaining the clean air and environment. At most of the smaller schools the kids already know this. But the medium to large school systems have lost touch with their rural counterparts.”

Recently in:

By Laura Simmonslaurasimmons2025@u.northwestern.eduHowes Township is frustrated with a court decision and a 2019 bill that lessened local control, giving it back to the state. Howes Township has been fighting the addition of a…

By Michael M. Miller  michael.miller@ndsu.eduPhoto credit: Sabrina HornungIn May 2022, the Rauter family of Wisconsin visited the Germans from Russia Heritage…

Fargo City Hall, thru Sept. 30  Fargo City Hall, 225 4th St. N.  …

By Faith Dixon  Faithshieldsdixon@gmail.com Guest editorial: ‘I am here to create, make and sustain true change’Being an activist is my purpose,…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com From Mansion or Hovel, We All End Up DeadWe are now living in the Divided States of America, which has been developing for more than 240 years. Economist Frederic Bastiat has come up with the main…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Rick Gion  rickgion@gmail.comIn this land of hotdish and ham, it used to be a real pain to find something satisfyingly spicy in the…

By Chris Larson  cjlarson75@gmail.comDuring a short break in their Wheels of Soul Tour with Los Lobos and the Gabe Dixon Band, I had a chance to…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comThe chatter surrounding director Olivia Wilde’s new movie “Don’t Worry Darling” reached fever pitch in the days leading up to this week’s wide release. Cynics began to wonder whether…

By HPR Staffsabrina@hpr1.comTour the studios of some of F-M’s most popular artistsThe Fargo-Moorhead area’s largest art event, the Studio Crawl, is just around the corner—October 1 and 2. The members of the Fargo Moorhead…

By Jessica M. Hawkesjmhawkes84@gmail.comIt wasn’t long after the founding of the railroad and river town of New Rockford that entertainment venues started to put down their own roots. Its population bolstered by booms of nearby…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comCharlie Berens is a man of many hats. The creator of the “Manitowoc Minute” is a newsman, comedian, writer and musician. We had the opportunity to speak with the Wisconsin native about his new…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

By Donna O’Shea  submit@hpr1.comWith the back-to-school season in full swing, the start of this academic year may…

By Andrew Alexis Varvelmr.a.alexis.varvel@gmail.comWill our congressperson be Cara Mund or Kelly Armstrong?Back 75 years ago in 1947, American radio stations played the hit song “Feudin' and Fightin'.” Its refrain went,…