The Seed Project

In 1989, the Society of St. Andrew began the Seed Potato Project, a self-help program for some of the poorest regions of our country. The program has since been expanded to include seeds for other produce.

The Seed Project renames and strategically extends SoSA’s historical Seed Potato Project, which for more than 30 years has provided seed potatoes to Appalachian farmers each spring.

The Society of St. Andrew knows enough food is produced in the United States to feed every hungry individual. But SoSA also knows food is not always grown where it is needed most.

Partners and recipients include Appalachian farmers and other partners in food deserts, rural areas, community gardens, inner-city gardens, edible church gardens, and schools. The Seed Project focuses specifically on food desert areas, community gardens, inner city gardens, edible churchyards, and church gardens, and Title I/Community Eligibility school garden projects.

The Seed Project’s success is built on a partnership with SPI (Seed Programs International), a North Carolina-based nonprofit that has spent decades developing hardy seeds for domestic and international hunger relief programs. Initially, this joint venture began as a collaboration between SoSA and SPI (Seed Programs International) to prevent good seeds from being discarded as waste due to packaging and other superficial errors.

Carrying Seed Potatoes

Families that receive seed potatoes from the Society of St. Andrew use them to grow potatoes in their homes or community gardens. The recipients prepare the fields, plant the seed potatoes, cultivate the crop, and harvest the produce. This food supplements the family diet with nutritious potatoes throughout the winter.

It is truly a cooperative effort to feed people in need through this innovative self-help program.

“I think the seed potato program is just as important and in some cases even more important than a crop drop. I attend Concord United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee and we have been blessed to work with SoSA since 2010 when we hosted our first crop drop of 43,000 pounds of watermelons.

We usually have more than 200 folks, from ages 5 to 85 years old, come out and help bag whatever crop we have at a particular event. They’re not afraid of hard work and they’re eager to serve their neighbors and the local community.

The best part is when folks come to pick up the produce towards the end of the drop or event. We get to see the smiles on their faces and get to talk with some of them as we help them load their cars, trucks or trailers.

For years, we have been “handing out” food to our neighbors who need it most. And now things have grown a bit and we’re able to give so many more of our neighbors a “hand up” through being a part of the Seed Potato Project.

With these potatoes, we are not only giving a “hand out”, we are giving a “hand up” and a promise of more food in the future. We have always wanted to serve our neighbors and through a partnership with SoSA, we have been able to do just that. What a wonderful blessing it is to be a part of something so effective at helping so many people.”

-Mike Smith
Concord United Methodist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee

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