One Special Spud …


You’d be surprised to learn what a potato can do; it can clean silver, grow roses, and even power a clock. One pound of seed potatoes can grow up to ten pounds of potatoes!

Concord United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee has seen the power within a simple potato. For years, Concord has been the host for a seed potato drop in Eastern Tennessee. A load of seed potatoes is delivered to the church in the early spring and more than a dozen agencies pick up their allotment of seed for their clients each year.

Our friend, Brooke, is the director of Elk Garden School Community Ministry, a recipient of those seed potatoes for the past three years. This ministry is proof that a few seed potatoes can provide much more than one pound of food.

Group Shot

The partnership among Concord UMC, Elk Garden School Community Ministry, and SoSA provides this ministry the resources to feed people, teach new skills, and bring a community together.

The Saturday morning pick-up of 7,000 pounds of seed potatoes is only the beginning of the journey for Brooke and the Elk Garden School Community Ministry. Once delivered, those potatoes are distributed to people who visit the food pantry, community garden volunteers, and community residents who will grow food on their own land.

The food pantry is the first step to address the food needs of community residents. Once they connect with the residents, Brooke and her team seek to address additional needs. Those seed potatoes are the perfect opportunity to educate residents about growing food for themselves. At no cost to the food pantry clients, Brooke and her volunteers provide seed potatoes and training to demonstrate that even with limited space, they can grow food in containers of all shapes and sizes at their homes.

Working a Raised Bed

The ministry’s community garden is the next step. Volunteers plant seed potatoes, other veggies, fruits, and herbs to demonstrate the stages of planting, tending, and harvesting. They grow a variety of fresh produce for the food pantry inventory. They even prepare “taste tests” to encourage residents to try nutritious foods that might be new to them.

Though it is in a rural region, the ministry center is located in an area that has very few providers of fresh food. To address this, residents with some land, expertise, and enthusiasm can volunteer to plant larger quantities of seed potatoes on their land to harvest and donate back to the food pantry.

It turns out there’s a lot of promise in a plain potato. With the help of Concord UMC, SoSA, and the folks at Elk Garden School Community Ministry, a community is being fed, learning new skills, and sharing the joy of harvesting nourishing food in their own backyards.

If you would like to sponsor a similar project to serve individuals, families, organizations like Brooke’s, and surrounding communities, click here to donate online.

P.S. – Want to learn more about seed potatoes? Click here for more info.


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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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