BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Food insecurity is a concern for many people.
Eighty-four-year-old Carl Madsen and his wife, with help from some volunteers, garden a 10-acre plot of land where they grow a variety of produce including melons, pumpkins, tomatoes, cabbage and onions which go to people struggling with food insecurity.
It’s another beautiful day at Madsen Gardens, and the couple is out harvesting melons and tomatoes to donate to Feeding Brookings.
“We like the place, we like the land, we like growing and we can do all that as a hobby and do it for people that have a need for it,” said Carl Madsen.
“The produce donations are greatly appreciated. Everyone always asks for more fresh produce and it’s difficult to even purchase it at the store, or get it from another source, and we don’t have any place to store it. So getting it from carl has just been great,” said Joanne Matthees, coordinator for Feeding Brookings.
In 2019, Feeding Brookings handed out 5,700 boxes of food and in 2021, that number rose to more than 12,000. This year, they are on track to hand out around 15,000 boxes of food.
“In the month of august, we gave away over 1,300 boxes of food to families in Brookings,” said Matthees. “We try to give them a good box of food, the produce just adds another little healthy variety.”
However, the harvest hasn’t been as plentiful this year because of the dry conditions.
“We had big ideas this spring. When we did it, we planted a lot of cabbage and melons, pumpkins, squash, potatoes, then the dry came,” said Madsen. “We’ve been really dry here. We lost about half of our cabbage crop, but I think we still delivered about 700. We lost cauliflower and broccoli, never does well in hot weather.”
But, even with the challenges, Madsen is happy to grow food for the community and hopes to continue next year.
“When you’re 84, you don’t know what you’re going to do next year, so I would like to, and I will work on it,” said Madsen.
Feeding Brookings has food distributions every Thursday afternoon, and anyone who is in need of food is encouraged to attend. You can find additional information about Feeding Brookings and how you can help the organization here.