The Seed Project

Hauling Bags of Seed Potatoes

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 Society of St. Andrew provides tractor-trailer loads of seed potatoes containing approximately 9 hundred 50-pound bags. Each bag goes to a family of four, which means that each load we provide benefits 3,600 people. The annual seed potato yield is generally over 5 million pounds of eating potatoes for people in need.

Carrying Seed Potatoes

Families that receive seed potatoes from the Society of St. Andrew use them to grow potatoes in their home 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.

The Society of St. Andrew Seed Project purchases seed potatoes from a distributor in Maine and pays the freight from farm to receiving agency. Some receiving agencies reimburse a portion of the freight costs. These agencies work with their communities to distribute the seed potatoes at no cost to recipients.

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

Group at Seed Potato Event

The agencies we work with to distribute seed potatoes include these:

♦  Jackson Area Ministries, Jackson, OH
♦  Cedar Ridge Ministries, Williamsburg, KY
♦  Bland Ministries, Bland, VA
♦  Good Samaritan Food Pantry, Richlands, VA
♦  Concord United Methodist Church, Knoxville, TN

“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

For more information, contact:

Meg Spears-Newsome
Potato & Produce Project Director
Email: Meg