Learn About Gleaning in Tennessee

Jeannie Hunter, Tennessee Regional Director

Jeannie Hunter

Tennessee Regional Director Jeannie Hunter was interviewed on the cityCURRENT Radio Show. The program airs on Sunday mornings on five Nashville radio stations: 104.5 The Zone, 95.5 NASH ICON, SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, NASH FM 103.3, and on 92Q. The show focused on the history of SoSA, how gleaning works, and how listeners can be involved. The full 15-minute segment can be heard here. More episodes can be heard on their website.

 Gleaning Image

In 2019, through June, our Tennessee region has gleaned 292,323 pounds of fresh produce in 370 events, with 784 volunteers.

Food donated by 118 farmers has been distributed to hungry people through 82 feeding agencies.

Download the Tennessee 2018 Annual Report (PDF)

Based in Nashville, the Society of St. Andrew Tennessee regional office (established in 2010) coordinates the state-wide Tennessee Gleaning Network, handles the placement and distribution of large loads with the Potato and Produce Project, and advocates on behalf of numerous hunger relief programs.

How can I help?
Through the Tennessee Gleaning Network, we coordinate volunteers across the state who enter fields and groves after farmers have finished harvesting and simply pick up the tons of good, nutritious produce left behind. This food is delivered to local food banks, pantries, soup kitchens, and other agencies to feed hungry people across the state. Society of St. Andrew makes all arrangements regarding the farmers, produce containers, and food distribution. All that volunteer gleaners need to do is show up. Most gleaning events take place in the morning, often on weekends, and last around 3-4 hours. Volunteer groups are encouraged to take food back to agencies or programs that they support in their local area.

Our volunteers represent groups from various church denominations, synagogues, youth groups, corporate and civic organizations, individuals, and inner-city residents. People of all ages can glean. Gleaners should be able to bend over and should be able to bend and lift several pounds of produce.

How can my congregation or faith community get involved?
SoSA works to establish a community of love, and to support lives of service and action according to the Gospel witness. If you or your faith community are interested in receiving spiritual resources about hunger and hunger relief, or having a SoSA staff member speak at your congregation, contact our regional director.

If I have food, how can I donate?
We work to make donating as easy as possible, and the interests and investments of our farmers are our highest priority. To find out more about donating, contact our our program coordinator.

How can my agency become a receiving agency?
It’s simple! Contact our program coordinator to start the conversation. We would love to hear about your work, your service population and food needs, and why you do what you do.

Recent Tennessee Facebook Feeds

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After accidentally drinking polluted tap water at age 12 during a trip to India, Kavita Shukla credits her grandmother's homebrewed spice tea with keeping her from getting sick. The middle schooler became intrigued by the idea that certain spices could have antibacterial properties and, upon returning home to Maryland, she started running experiments with spices, pond water, and produce. Now 32, Kavita has gone from being "this weird kid with rotting strawberries in my garage" to becoming the founder of a successful social enterprise dedicated to reducing the food spoilage that contributes to world hunger.

On average, 25% of harvested produce is lost to spoilage, wasting tremendous amounts of water and fuel in the process, so Kavita was excited by the potential of finding a way to cut down on such losses. She spent her high school years further experimenting with spices and eventually discovered a combination that could keep fruits and vegetables fresh two to four times longer than normal by inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth. By the time she was 17, Kavita had invested $1,500 that she had won at science fairs into a patent for her special spice-infused paper that she called FreshPaper.

As an undergraduate at Harvard, Kavita tried to set up her enterprise as a non-profit in order to get FreshPaper to those in need in developing countries but she says "that didn't go anywhere" after it failed to attract the interest of donors. Eventually, she and her company co-founder Swaroop Samant decided to manufacture a thousand sheets in her Kavita's kitchen and give out samples at a local farmers' market to see if there would be consumer interest in her invention. They made $600 in sales on their first day, and were greeted with crowds waiting to buy the unique paper every time they returned.

Since then, Kavita and Swaroop have founded FreshGlow, a social enterprise company which sells FreshPaper to those who can afford it and donates it to food banks to reach those who can’t. The company now sells to several major grocery store companies in the US, as well as to 35 countries around the world. For Kavita, the experience of turning her middle school invention into a growing social enterprise has been a thrilling one: “We went to the farmers' market because it was all we could access. It's so incredible, this power of putting innovation right in the hands of the end user.”

If you'd like to try out Kavita's invention, you can find FreshPaper on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2k9dspt -- or a 4-Pack at https://amzn.to/2lak4UE

She's also now added versions for extending the life of bread (https://amzn.to/2k5wc9h) and cheese (https://amzn.to/2lCZfBy)

To introduce children to real-life female inventors throughout history, we highly recommend "Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women," for ages 8 and up at https://amightygirl.com/girls-think-of-everything/

For more books for children and teens starring girls and women who love science and inventing, check out our blog post, "70 Books to Inspire Science-Loving Mighty Girls," at https://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=13914

And, for a fun chemistry set to spark your Mighty Girl's interest in experimenting, check out the Science Club Stir-It-Up Set for ages 7 to 10 at https://amightygirl.com/stir-it-up-chemistry-lab/
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