Happy Father’s Day

George Blishby Jean Blish Siers *

It’s Father’s Day, and I’m looking at a picture I keep on my desk: my father George Blish, holding an enormous rutabaga. He must have been in his late-70s when this picture was taken on our farm in northern Minnesota. He’d been a farmer his whole life, and when he retired from farming, he didn’t leave his love of the soil behind. He continued to raise big gardens and he and my mother put away food that fed them all winter – freezers full of vegetables and fruits, shelves of pickles and jams and jellies.

I’m not a farmer. I have a backyard garden that produces enough to sometimes keep me in lettuce and grape tomatoes! If I had to live off it, I’d be mighty skinny. But I learned from my father that farmers are full of wisdom and generosity, and that the soil gives back to us if we take care of the soil. To take it a step further, the world gives back to us, when we take care of the world, and that includes our hungry neighbors.

He’s been gone 20 years this month and I still miss him every day. I wish I could tell him that even though I’m not a farmer, I get to spend my time with them, as they literally share the fruits of their labors with those who are less fortunate. I wish I could thank him one more time for instilling in me a love of the land, sunshine in the summer and the dormancy of winter, and the knowledge that when we give to something, we get much, much more in return.

* Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s Charlotte Area Gleaning Coordinator, and a regular contributor to this News & Events blog.


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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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