Ag Day on the Hill

By Rich Peck *

For 15 years, Tennessee state legislators have celebrated “Ag Day on the Hill” – a day to shuck corn, visit farm animals, and celebrate all things agricultural. This year, the day included bagging and distributing 19,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to Nashville area churches and food kitchens, and to food pantries across a 12-county area of Middle Tennessee.

Linda Tozer with Ellie and Andy Holt

Linda Tozer with Ellie and Andy Holt. – Photo by Rich Peck

State Senator Andy Holt, vice-chair of the Tennessee Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, has chaired the annual event for the past five years. Married to Ellie Holt (Society of Saint Andrew gleaning coordinator for West Tennessee) it seemed logical for Andy to invite SoSA to sponsor a potato drop as a part of Ag Day.

Linda Tozer, regional director for SoSA in Tennessee, contacted Mack Rogers, a third generation farmer in Lincoln County who has donated many times to SoSA.

Mack Rogers, president of the National Sweet Potato Council, is joined by his wife, Jena, and sons, Elijah and Knox, after delivering 19,000 pounds of sweet potatoes during Ag Day on the Hill. ~ Photo by Linda Tozer, Society of St. Andrew

Mack Rogers, with his wife, Jena, and sons, Elijah and Knox. – Photo by Linda Tozer

Early the morning of March 24, Mac, wife Jena, and sons, Elijah and Knox, arrived in Nashville, at a site near the state capitol with 19,000 pounds of sweet potatoes. Noting the five-acre farm first owned by his grandfather, Mack said, “The Lord blessed us and we just keep the blessings flowing.”

Future farmers from Glencliff High School, members of Total Quality Logistics, youth members of Hillcrest United Methodist Church, and volunteers from HCA, were ready to bag the potatoes for hungry residents of middle Tennessee.

Andy said he and Ellie first became acquainted with the Society of Saint Andrew when he wanted to harvest pumpkins he was afraid might rot in his West Tennessee farm. “I hate to see any food go to waste,” he said. It wasn’t long before Ellie moved from being a donor of farm products to being a staff member of SoSA, who helps coordinate the gleaning, delivery, and bagging of excess food from other farmers to feed the hungry in West Tennessee.

* Rich Peck is editor of UMMen, the magazine of United Methodist Men


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In the event I, or a registered family member, suffers any illness or accident requiring emergency hospitalization, medication, or other medical assistance while participating in a gleaning event, permission is given for any medical treatment which is deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. I fully understand and comprehend that reasonable care will be exercised by the adult staff for this gleaning event to protect the safety of those involved. I understand that the field supervisor’s instructions must be followed at all times, and that I am responsible for any damages caused to fields, farms, or equipment by me/my family members not following these instructions.

Photos, videos, and other images in which I, or a registered family member, appear that are taken during gleanings may be used by the Society of St. Andrew for news coverage, newsletters, reports, displays, and for other print, broadcast, web, or electronic news or promotional purposes.

I do not hold the board, members, or employees of the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA,) or any volunteers liable for injury, bodily harm, accidents, or death of myself/my child during events sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew. Neither will I hold the person(s) who owns and/or operates the property from which we glean, salvage, or to which we deliver food, liable for accidents, injury, or death during the gleanings or other SoSA events.

For a PDF print version of this waiver, click here.

How the Story of the 12 Baskets is Connected to SoSA’s Name

Matthew 14:16-21

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

2 Kings 4:42-44

[…]the man of God […] said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

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