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SDSU Extension to Host Third Community-Focused Book Read

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Over the next two months, the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Community Vitality team will be bringing South Dakotans together virtually for a community book read. After two widely popular book discussion series with much discussion and debate, the organization will be offering a third statewide book read beginning Nov. 23.

“The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life—and Saved an American Farm,” by Sarah Frey, will be the focus of the November/December book read. The youngest of 21 children, Frey grew up on a struggling farm in southern Illinois. At 15, she started her own fresh produce delivery business out of an old pickup truck. Two years later she took over the family farm and started doing business with the largest grocery retailers in the country.

Frey’s story is one of never giving up, negotiating with some of the biggest businesses in the nation and building a company that serves consumers with fresh, healthy products. Today Frey Farms is the nation’s leading producer of pumpkins, earning Frey the nickname “America’s Pumpkin Queen.”

“This book represents issues that impact every South Dakotan; issues of food and the livelihoods of farmers in the community,” says Leigh Neys, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist. “South Dakotans will connect virtually to discuss the book and think about the lessons learned that can be applied in our own communities.”

The book read will be held Tuesday evenings on Nov. 23 and 30 and Dec. 7. The facilitated discussions will be held over Zoom, which is readily available and free to individuals with internet capabilities. The timeframe will be 7:30 p.m. CDT (6:30 p.m. MT), with an hour of interaction. Interested parties should register by Nov. 15 to receive the link to join the discussion.

There is no registration fee; participants only need to purchase the book in advance of the start date. There will be a cap to the number of participants, with a plan to offer another book read in the winter.

To register, visit the SDSU Extension Community Book Read event page or contact Neys at; Peggy Schlechter SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist at; or Kari O’Neill, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Manager at