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Meredith Holt, Published October 21 2012

Farm women share message about food safety

CALLAWAY, Minn. – Karolyn Zurn raised her five adult children on farm food, which she says is the safest in the world.

The 62-year-old grandmother of 10 fed her kids dairy, pork, beef, wheat, corn, soybeans and sugar beets produced on her Becker County farm, now strictly a grain operation.

“We eat and buy the same groceries off the same grocery store shelf as anyone who lives in town,” says Zurn, whose children stayed in farming and agriculture.

The Callaway woman, who serves on several agricultural boards, joined CommonGround North Dakota to help share her experience and her message.

“Our farm, the ground, the soil, our animals, whatever it is we do, it is the safest food source in the world,” she says.

CommonGround is a national movement of farm women working to help dispel myths about farming and food safety, and rebuild trust in farm families.

The North Dakota chapter, formed last December, is planning a couple events this weekend to coincide with the NDSU Alumni Association Harvest Bowl, which celebrates agriculture and Bison athletics.

Zurn and her husband, Bill, are among this year’s honorees.

As part of the festivities, members of North Dakota State University’s professional agriculture sorority will hold a corn maze for children ages 5 to 8 and their parents from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday by the greenhouses on the west side of the NDSU campus.

Sigma Alpha President Jody Hanson says CommonGround gives her an opportunity to talk about growing up on a farm in southern Minnesota and the food she and her family raise there.

“It’s a way for me to stay connected with the agriculture industry. I’m an engineer, so I don’t necessarily get that in my day-to-day life,” the 22-year-old Fargo woman says.

The farm women of CommonGround also rented a tent with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture Food Kitchen for Bison tailgating from 9 a.m. till game time.

There they’ll serve chili made with both beef and pork and answer questions from passers-by about food and farming. Zurn expects to be asked about issues surrounding hormones, chemicals and genetically modified crops.

“We’re not going to purposely harm anything, whether it’s the soil or the animals. Without them, we don’t live,” says Hanson, an NDSU senior majoring in agricultural engineering.


• CommonGround North Dakota: http://findourcommonground.com/your-community/north-dakota

• CommonGround on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CommonGroundNow

If you go

What: NDSU Alumni Association Harvest Bowl

When: Events begin at 5 p.m. Friday with the Harvest Bowl social, dinner and awards program and continue Saturday until the Bison football game.

Where: The Friday social will be held at the Ramada Plaza & Suites in Fargo; Saturday events will be held on campus.

Info: For more information, call the NDSU Alumni Association at (800) 279-8971 or email Marilyn Doeden at marilyn@ndsualumni.com.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590