SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — 20,000 pumpkins seems like a lot to plant, harvest and donate. But that was the goal to make sure there were plenty of pumpkins to go around Brookings and surrounding communities.
The mission: to make sure every kid gets a pumpkin this year.
“I love to see the smile on the kid’s faces or even the parent’s faces when they’ve got a pumpkin, you know, everybody’s got to have a pumpkin,” said Brett Owens, Director of the Local Foods Education Center.
The pumpkins you see here are just a few from the SDSU Local Foods Education Center. The rest were donated to local schools, the Brookings Boys and Girls club, the Carriage House, and other other organizations.
“Just anywhere where there’s not a pumpkin we’ll find a space for it,” said Owens.
“It may be a lot of hard work, but the students are excited to be giving back to the community.”
“People are always the same and so grateful for it and just being able to see it throughout the process of growing it, starting it and all that, all the way to being able to donate it is one of the coolest things,” said Amelea Jones, student employee.
“I’m really glad they are getting donated because I love to see like things like going out for the benefit of other people in our community,” said Joe Tilstra, student employee.
Kids even got to pick their own pumpkins.
“Our kids just had such big smiles on their faces and they’re so excited and just like I said you see some of the little ones carrying a great big pumpkin and they’re kind of struggling and some of the little ones they have just a little pumpkins and they’re excited about that,” said Jeff Hansen, Principal of Lake Benton Elementary.
“I got the biggest. I picked out the orange one, since I like the orange pumpkins. I like the green pumpkins. And I like the orange ones” said Abigail, Jacob, Lennyx, and Hudsyn, students at Lake Benton Elementary.
Education is also at the heart of this bountiful harvest.
“Some of the classroom teachers broke it down and talking about the different types of pumpkins because there were bigger ones, there were little more texture on the outside, the white ones, you had your traditional ones, you had some that were pumpkins but they looked a little more like gourds,” said Hansen.
“We got to see all different kinds of pumpkins and we got to hold them and I never got to hold a pumpkin and it felt so heavy,” Lennyx said.
The center grows a variety of different produce that is donated to the community, tying in education with combating food insecurity.