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Agriculture

Donation amounts to more than a hill of beans

February 21, 2013
by Coleman Cornelius

This donation from Colorado State University amounts to more than a hill of beans; in fact, it amounts to more than 20,000 servings.

pinto beansNearly two tons of beans

The university’s Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center and its Dry Bean Breeding Project recently donated 3,500 pounds of dried pinto beans to the Food Bank for Larimer County and the Weld Food Bank, which assist people in need throughout northern Colorado. That’s nearly two tons of beans.

“The pinto beans are a valuable donation to the food bank,” said Karen McManus, food resource manager at the Food Bank for Larimer County. “We distributed 8 million pounds of food in 2012. We rely on our generous partners and donors, including CSU, to meet the food needs of people in our community. Together we are fighting hunger in Larimer County.”

Donating for 20 years

ARDEC, the CSU research farm north of Fort Collins, is home base for the Dry Bean Breeding Project, which develops bean cultivars well-suited for Colorado’s growing conditions. The two have donated the CSU bean harvest to local food banks for about 20 years, said Mark Brick, a professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, who leads the bean project.

“The College of Agricultural Sciences is educating students and conducting research to help address global food security, and we’re proud to start that work in Colorado and our own community,” Craig Beyrouty, college dean, said.

Northern Feed & Bean of Lucerne, Colo., also contributed to the donation by cleaning the beans for consumption.

Dry Bean Breeding Project

The CSU Dry Bean Breeding Project uses traditional plant-breeding methods to develop bean cultivars for superior nutrition, disease resistance, increased yield, improved performance and better market value. The project grows crops at ARDEC and evaluates the beans harvested to help provide regional producers with successful cultivars.

The project also conducts research with the CSU Cancer Prevention Laboratory in the College of Agricultural Sciences to identify bean properties that boost human health by warding off cancer and diabetes, among other conditions.

The Dry Bean Breeding Project is just one program in the College of Agricultural Sciences that donates harvests to local food banks. For instance, the CSU Horticulture Farm, also north of Fort Collins, donates organically grown raspberries, tomatoes and other vegetables to the Food Bank for Larimer County.