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Students help reduce hunger in Fargo-Moorhead

Students in the weed biology and ecology research program at NDSU are making an impact on reducing hunger in the Fargo-Moorhead community by donating beets, beet greens and squash produced by research to Churches United for the Homeless.

Department of Plant Sciences students Kenneth Paul Beamer, Samantha Hogstad and Anne Gatzke partnered in the project.

Beamer is a master’s student from Earlham, Iowa, who is conducting research in the weed biology and ecology project at NDSU under project leader and associate professor Greta Gramig.

Hogstad, who also was advised by Gramig, completed her master’s degree in plant sciences in August.

Gatzke is an agricultural and biosystems engineering and horticulture double major from Elk River, Minnesota.

Gramig’s research team donated beets and beet tops during the summer and about 1,200 pounds of squash in October to Churches United for the Homeless. The local organization serves homeless and at-risk individuals by providing daily meals through its in-house kitchen and a self-serve food pantry stocked with bread, baked goods, non-perishables and seasonal locally-produced fresh produce.

“One of the best ways to show you care about people,” Beamer said, “is to feed them.”

The focus of Gramig’s program is to conduct research that helps producers in the northern Great Plains improve soil health and control weeds using ecologically based approaches, while maintaining good yields. Beamer is comparing full-till and no-till vegetable production for his research. Two of the crops he is using in his study are butternut and buttercup squash. In early October, 1500 pounds of squash were harvested by the research team.

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