NDSU Extension Supports Local Food Entrepreneurs

During the pandemic, many rural schools and grocery stores in North Dakota were impacted by food supply chain issues, highlighting the need for alternative sources of food.  

In light of food supply disruptions, Jodi Bruns, NDSU Extension’s leadership and civic engagement specialist, partnered with Extension sheep specialist Travis Hoffman to create a guide for farmers, ranchers, local grocery stores and others looking to buy or sell local food, including produce, eggs and meat. The guide busts common myths about purchasing and selling local food with the latest guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.  

“Local foods not only ensure we have a safe, reliable, close food source, but local growers also contribute substantially to the local economy,” says Bruns.  

In some areas, local farmers and ranchers were able to help meet gaps in food supply. Bruns has worked with a number of other local food entrepreneurs during the startup phase of their businesses, connecting them with the resources and markets.  

Larry Schumacker, who owns Larry’s Hydro Lettuce in Fullerton, North Dakota, credits Bruns and NDSU Extension with helping him move his business forward.  

Using hydroponic technology, Schumacker grows a variety of lettuce year-round and makes weekly deliveries to LaMoure Public School, Enderlin Area Schools and the BisMan Community Food Co-op, in addition to area restaurants.  

“At each step of my business, Jodi has helped me make connections to research, business planning and markets I didn’t know were available,” says Schumacker. “NDSU Extension has been instrumental in moving the local foods movement forward by getting factual information out to schools and other institutions who had been told they couldn’t buy produce or other food from local sources.”  

Bruns also partners with local food organizations including the North Dakota Local Foods Development Alliance, North Dakota Rural Grocers Initiative and the Multi-state Rural Grocers.  


NDSU Extension Guide for Buying and Selling Local Food  

Jodi Bruns, 701-210-0445, jodi.bruns@ndsu.edu 


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