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“Feeds your soul:” Community corn harvest filling bellies with sweet corn

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - Seven acres of sweet corn are ripe for the picking at Dow's Farm in Cedar Rapids.

For eight days, Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) and other local non-profits are hosting a "Community Corn Harvest" for those in need.

Executive director of SILT, Suzan Erem says a farmer called noticing the hunger in the area. "I said well how about some sweet corn? and he went ahead and did it," Erem said.

Each acre of corn can feed around 200 people according to Iowa State University. The first day of the harvest, Olivet Neighborhood Mission picked 1,700 pounds of corn with the help of volunteers. All of the corn was distributed to 222 people in three hours.

"This is good for the community," Sean Zirtzman said.

Zirtzman and his wife, Ashley, picked corn for their own family and their apartment complex neighbors, including an elderly woman. "She relies heavily on food pantries, she can't walk very long, it definitely benefits her," Ashley Zirtzman said.

Volunteers taught the life-long Cedar Rapids couple how to pick corn during their first time harvesting.

"We really want the folks who have been struggling this year to come out and just celebrate this abundance of food," Erem said.

Julie Palmer, director of Olivet Neighborhood Mission says food insecurity increased in Linn County. "We have a lot of people who have lost their jobs, we have a lot of people who are displaced," Palmer said.

There is no limit on the amount of corn participants can pick. Harvesters can freeze their corn to last longer in the future.

"I'm sad that people need to come together around hunger, but we're hoping that this event shows everyone that we can grow really good food right here in Iowa and feed our folks right close to home," Erem said.

The event will also bring a developer and planning department to explain a future agri-community plan for the area.

The field holds two variety of sweet corn, one of which will be ready next weekend.

Kennedy DeRaedt

Photojournalist

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