The Cabbage Not Wasted

– From an article by Lynette Johnson, SoSA Executive Director

The field of cabbage in Screven, Georgia stretched in all directions almost as far as the eye could see. In years past, the farmer filled the field with watermelons, but a friend suggested that cabbage was the new way to go. So this year, for the first time, the farmer took a chance and planted lots and lots of cabbage. He even had a sales contract in place for it all. Then, the sales contract fell through. All of his acres of cabbage were simply going to be plowed under because he had no market for them. It was a financial disaster.

Meanwhile, Sandi Newman, our SoSA Georgia Program Coordinator, was deep in conversation with the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (nfesh.org.) That organization has a new Georgia-based initiative called What a Waste! built on the idea (new to them, but not to us) that they might be able to feed hungry seniors with produce that would otherwise go to waste. When the farmer called Sandi, she invited What a Waste! To send out folks to glean cabbage with her one day in Screven so they could learn what gleaning is all about.

The group in the cabbage field.

Council on Aging members from three agencies in Georgia, in the cabbage field in Screven, Georgia

This little group, representing the Council on Aging from three separate Georgia communities, gleaned more than 6,000 pounds of cabbage that morning. And when the morning was done, they were appalled to see how much food was still left in the fields. One woman left in tears because there was so much food left that they had been unable to glean.

Sandi’s phone began to ring right after she got back to her office. The folks who had just left the field wanted to know if they could come back and glean again. And could they bring more people? Yes, absolutely. So the gleaning continued, not for just a day or two, but for several weeks.

When the gleaned cabbage arrived at senior-serving agencies, low-income seniors stood in line to receive a head to take home. Cabbage is good food, and they knew just what to do with it. Every day the senior volunteers gleaned and returned with cabbage, everything they brought back disappeared into the hands of the end-users in just a couple of hours. Likely, too, much of it was on the table the same night it was gleaned.

Whether as a donor or a volunteer, you make a difference with so many events like these. In January and February of this year, SoSA held an average of almost seven gleanings each day, 396 events in two winter months. Each event makes a difference, in a powerful way, to gleaners, to farmers, and – most of all – to those who receive the food we share.


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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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