Connecting with Farmers

Logo of Rocky River Local FoodsBy Jean Blish Siers *

I enjoy my job for many different reasons. I love being in the fields in the summer, working with volunteers to save as much food as possible. I love meeting the folks who receive our food, knowing that as a Society of St. Andrew representative, I play a part in bringing something healthy and delicious to someone who might not get fresh produce often.  Last week, I attended the Southern Piedmont Local Food Producers Conference in Monroe, NC, and was reminded of one of the biggest reasons I love my job: talking with farmers who work the land and share their bounty.

Sponsored by Rocky River Local Foods and North Carolina Extension, this is a relatively new conference. Its goals are to educate and to connect, stressing the importance of local foods on the economy and the environment. The day is filled with classes and programs about native pollinators, new ways to raise blueberries, expanding agri-tourism, and finding ways to use social media to get products from farm to customers. A busy trade show, it featured everyone from seed companies to app creators.

A wide variety of growers stopped by my booth. Some have worked with us for years and just came by to chat. Others were newer to farming or simply had not heard of us. They came from farms ranging from hundreds of acres to less than an acre. Even those who produced things we wouldn’t necessarily glean were interested in what we do and why we do it. It reinforced my belief that farmers don’t raise things simply to throw them away.

I came home having made contacts with growers who might share their excess with us. And I came away with renewed respect for these hardworking men and women. They have to be experts not only in agriculture, but in business and marketing as well.

It would be great if everyone had a chance to know the farmers who raise his or her food. Most of us can, if we take the time. I encourage everyone to visit a farmers market, sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture,) or stop by a farm stand this spring and pick up a bucket of strawberries that taste better than anything you’d get in the store. And feel free to let them know about Society of St. Andrew and the gleaning network. We also love to educate and to connect!

*Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s Charlotte Area Gleaning Coordinator.



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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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