Basin's Backyard Garden sets milestones for food donated in 2021

It has been a record-setting year for Basin's Backyard Garden, even as the COVID-19 global pandemic kept the garden off Basin Electric's property.

Basin's Backyard Garden HomeGrown volunteers have donated more than 1,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables in 2021 to local food pantries. That is the most donated in a year since 2016, when volunteers grew 964.7 pounds at Basin Electric's Headquarters and donated to food pantries across town.

Since 2014, garden volunteers have donated 4,287.6 pounds to local food pantries. Weights of all donations made to local food pantries are collected through the Hunger Free North Dakota program, administered by the North Dakota Agriculture Department.

This year also holds the largest one-day donation total, 185 pounds, which was made in late August. Much of that donation came from the home garden of two Basin Electric employees. Read the story: One home garden's harvest boosts Basin's Backyard Garden donations to more than 550 pounds

In September, the garden added a pantry donation to the weekly haul for Hunger Awareness Month. Several boxes of shelf-stable food was donated to Ministry on the Margins, in addition to the local fruits and veggies grown by employees. While the weight of the pantry items does not count towards the garden's donation total, it was a worthwhile effort.

Three women with boxes of donated food
Della Mastel, Basin Electric senior accounting analyst; Whitney Fischer, Basin Electric senior financial operations analyst; and Rachel Monge, Ministry on the Margins, carried out the pantry donations along with the Basin's Backyard Garden HomeGrown donations, which totaled 89 pounds that week.

"Food pantries in our area are seeing greater need these past couple years than ever before. When I saw Ministry on the Margins put out a call for specific items, like canned fruit and veggies, pancake batter and syrup, we thought it would be easy enough to add a food pantry drive to our weekly garden donation," said Tracie Bettenhausen, Basin's Backyard Garden organizer and Basin Electric senior staff writer/editor. "Basin Electric employees always step up to give when asked, and it's incredible to see how a simple ask can turn into so much support for our community. It is the true spirit of cooperative, stepping in to fill a need when we see it."

KFYR-TV aired a story on Basin's Backyard Garden's milestones this year. The story featured Shauna Laber, Basin Electric senior right-of-way analyst. Her daughter, Zara, helped deliver the donations as a veggie taxi driver for a month this summer. Watch the KFYR-TV story: Gardeners donate record vegetable haul to local food pantries