Northeast State teams up for bean-based crop drop for food pantries

Published 7:57 am Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A local community college has partnered with a national ministry program to help support area hunger relief agencies.
On Friday, Northeast State Community College will host a “crop drop” in a partnership with The Society of St. Andrew. Volunteers with the college will help sort, bag and prepare 5,000 pounds of green beans to help stock the shelves of local food pantry operations.
“This opportunity for Northeast State students, faculty and staff to serve with SoSA is particularly special as hunger in our region, nation and world is a very real problem for many people,” said Mark Beaty, director of campus activities at Northeast State. “To serve in this capacity fits nicely with the vision of the office of Campus Activities at Northeast State … we are honored to be a part of this.”
Beaty said the green beans will be distributed to Second Harvest Food Bank, Good Samaritan Ministries in Johnson City and local churches who operate food pantry programs.
This will be the first year Northeast State has worked with The Society of St. Andrew for a food distribution project.
“We want to do service projects, particularly for our students to be involved in,” Beaty said.
Beaty said the college is excited about the event and hopes to be able to partner with the Society in the future for other food projects. He said The Society of St. Andrew delivers a variety produce through its partnerships with commercial farms.
A “crop drop” is a produce recovery event where volunteers unite to sort, bag and distribute a large quantity of produce reclaimed from agricultural operations. This is food that, while perfectly edible and nutritious, falls outside the scope of what is considered marketable or outside the specifications of a farm’s growing contract.
The green beans for the crop drop at Northeast State come from Hughes Farm in Crossville, which cultivates approximately 5,000 acres of green beans each year. The Tennessee division of The Society of St. Andrew partnered with Hughes Farm to recover these beans as they are culled from the farm’s operation.
Beaty said a number of students and staff members have already signed up as volunteers for the event, but added if members of the community wanted to participate they would not be turned away.
The beans will be delivered to the campus on Thursday evening and volunteers will begin the process of sorting and bagging on Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Beaty said the event will take place at the college’s main campus in Blountville but student groups from the other campus sites will be participating.
Founded in 1979, The Society of St. Andrew has saved nearly a billion pounds of food through its produce recovery programs and regional offices — all for 2 cents a serving.
The Tennessee office, which opened in 2010, has recovered more than 4 million pounds of produce to date, working to ensure these 12 million servings end up on the plates of hungry Tennesseans.

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