Harvest Lunch Celebrates Local Food and Farming

Farmers gathered with fellow South Dakotans this November for meaningful conversation and delicious local food at the Hungry for Truth Harvest Lunch. Guests learned some surprising facts. Did you know some cows sleep on waterbeds? They also heard stories about the multiple generations of family farmers in South Dakota.

The lunch took place at Prairie Berry East Bank in Sioux Falls. During each course, local farmers shared how they raise healthy crops and livestock on their own family farms. Prairie Berry’s Chef Mark Benedetto also spoke about how the restaurant sources food for its kitchen and the importance of knowing where our food comes from.

Guest Kaylee Koch, a Sioux Falls blogger who writes about her Midwest family adventures at Apple of My Ivy, enjoyed hearing from farmers about how working on the farm is a family business.

“I loved learning how the farms have been passed down from generation to generation and that it truly is a whole family experience. Each member of the family has a specific role. It’s a coalition of hard work that unites to bring the delicious and healthy food to our tables,” Koch said.

Vermillion farmer Jerry Schmitz loved connecting with fellow South Dakotans and answering questions about his family farm and how he raises healthy crops. One question in particular stood out to Jerry: Were the farming methods that our ancestors used better than what farmers use today?

“Our ancestors used a plow and cultivators to control weeds that rob moisture and nutrients from crops because that was their only option,” Schmitz said. “Today, science and technology offer farmers lots of different options to choose from, and it’s up to the farmer to choose the best practices based on the soil characteristics of each field that they farm. One technology that’s had a huge impact on how I farm is GPS. GPS technology has done more than help give directions around town. Today, I use GPS to map fields into garden-sized plots for soil sampling and fertilization so that each small area receives the exact prescription of nutrients the plants require.”

Many guests remarked that when shopping in the grocery store or throwing together a quick dinner for the family, the connection between the farms and the farm families who raise our food can sometimes get lost.

“Our farmers are so important, and meeting with these local farmers reminded me not to take the food I eat for granted. Our farmers spend a lot of time, work and love to bring us our meals,” Koch said.

Have your own questions about farming in our state? Share in the comments to get connected with a local farmer. Plus, if you want to see more photos from our event, check out our Facebook photo album.