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Celebrating Food Check-Out Week

By Staff | Feb 25, 2011

Carolyn Maschino, of Badger, is the mother of two young daughters and is always looking for ways to stretch her grocery budget. She won a $300 shopping spree from the Calhoun County and Webster County Farm Bureaus during Food Check-Out Week.

FORT DODGE – As news headlines urge consumers to brace for higher food costs this year, it’s still possible to provide healthy, nutritious meals while staying within a budget, thanks to the productivity of America’s farmers.

“It takes just five weeks for the average family of four to earn enough disposable income to pay for his or her family’s food supply for the entire year,” said Vance Bauer, who farms near Gowrie and is a past president of the Webster County Farm Bureau. “As farmers, it is our job is to provide consumers with the highest quality, healthiest food possible.”

To promote the farm-to-fork connection, the Webster County Farm Bureau teamed up last week with the Calhoun County Farm Bureau to celebrate Food Check-Out Week. The Farm Bureau offices held a drawing to give away $300 shopping sprees, including one to Carolyn Maschino, of Badger, and another to Ron Hartig, of Manson.

In addition, local pork producers donated $100 worth of free pork to two lucky shoppers – Emily Bendrickson of Farnhamville and Belinda Clark of Fort Dodge.

“This was very exciting, because I have a husband and two young daughters at home, and I’m always looking for ways to stretch our grocery budget,” said Maschino, a family nutrition program assistant at the Webster County Extension office. “A lot of people think you can’t eat healthy on a budget, but that’s not true.”

Larry Alliger, of Gowrie, who serves as president of the Webster County Farm Bureau, stood by to offer suggestions and help keep a running tally of the $100 worth of pork that Belinda Clark, of Fort Dodge, won as part of Food Check-Out Week. Clark brought her granddaughter Amauranna, 2, to the Fort Dodge Hy-Vee on Feb. 21 for the shopping spree.

Affordability

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend approximately 10 percent of their disposable income on food each year.

The five weeks it takes the average family of four to earn enough disposable income to pay for enough food for the year is noteworthy, said Larry Alliger, of Gowrie, president of the Webster County Farm Bureau. “In comparison, Americans must work even longer to pay for health care (50 days), housing (60 days) and federal taxes (74 days).”

America’s affordable food is directly tied to the ever-increasing productivity of the nations’ farmers, added Dave Seil, a farmer from the Gowrie area who serves on the Webster County Farm Bureau board. “Today, the average farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people.”

Consumers have more choices today than ever when it comes to food, added Seil, who noted that commodities produced by Iowa farmers turn up in a surprising number of products in the average Iowa grocery store.

“Even through these tough economic times, America has a lot to be thankful for, including our abundant, affordable food supply,” Bauer said.

You can contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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