Coordination & Leadership

Karen has served as the Chair of statewide and local organizations including Prairie Public and the International Club of Bismarck and Mandan. She currently facilitates the work of diverse groups including the Creating a Hunger Free North Dakota Coalition and the North Dakota Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight initiative.


Karen uses her voice to speak for groups and concepts. She has written and presented testimony before the U.S. Congress and the North Dakota State Legislative Assembly. She has been interviewed for television and radio news, and has presented at many statewide conferences including the North Dakota Dietetic Association, the North Dakota Nutrition Council, the North Dakota Rural and Public Health Association, and the North Dakota Long Term Care Association.

Karen speaks passionately for local/regional food systems, changing diets to include more fruits and vegetables, food policy, the role of food in culture, and eating well.


Karen writes news releases, articles, grant applications and testimony.

Some examples of Karen's work:

We SNAP'd: Taking the SNAP Challenge Highlights Precarious Situations of People with Low Food Security, October 2013

Making the Healthful Choice the Easy Choice, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, August 2009

Are You Living in a (Food) Desert?, North Dakota Association of Counties County News, May/June 2009

Valued Meals, Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture newsletter, The Germinator, 2006

Food and Nutrition

Karen builds excitement about and knowledge of food by teaching Mediterranean-style and healthful cooking concepts and techniques to adults with her husband, Duane Ehrens, Chef at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck. She delights in sharing dishes prepared with local foods with her family, friends and catered functions.