As part of our commitment to cultivate local communities, Harvest Land recently donated $1,000 to the Centerville United Methodist Church food pantry for their food ministry, then applied for – and was granted – a matching $1,000 grant from Land O’Lakes. A total of $2,000 was donated for the monthly food ministry, as well as the on-demand food pantry where families can receive food assistance any day of the work week by calling the church office.
The United States Department of Agriculture defines “Food Deserts” as parts of the country void of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. Centerville and certain rural areas of Wayne County unfortunately fall into this category.
The Centerville United Methodist Church Monthly Food Ministry was created in an effort to alleviate this problem in our own back yard. They team with Gleaners Food Bank, Inc. of Indiana to provide canned and boxed food, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need. Since beginning their monthly food ministry in September 2017, they’re assisting over sixty local family units each month.
The hunger epidemic can seem so far away when we hear about it on the news. But it really hits home when you realize it affects neighbors in our rural communities.
We’re proud to partner with Land O’Lakes to provide a bit of assistance in the Centerville area this summer, especially while children are home for summer and not able to receive school-prepared meals.
On Tuesday night Harvest Land was a sponsor of the 2018 Wayne County Rural Urban Banquet. This is a treasured tradition in the area, where people who dwell within the city limits share a meal and fellowship with those who make a living out on a country mile. For decades this event has brought farmers, business owners, elected officials and rural route residents to the table. It is a very popular event in east central Indiana.
This year was special in that the keynote speaker was Zippy Duvall, President of the National Farm Bureau Federation. Zippy is a third-generation farmer from Georgia. In addition to a 400-head beef cow herd for which he grows his own hay, Duvall and his wife, Bonnie, also grow more than 750,000 broilers per year. Have you ever eaten at Chick-fil-A? Chances are you enjoyed one of his birds.
Zippy delivered a fantastic address regarding the current state of government affairs in Washington and the issues on the table that will matter in agriculture, and in turn affect the food on tables in homes and restaurants. Though a large majority of the evening crowd may feel a disconnection to agriculture, the truth is that it affects nearly every aspect of their life, including food, clothing, energy and more.
Many are familiar with the fact that only 2% of Americans farm today. Decades ago nearly every American family tended a garden because they had to; they depended on it year-around for fresh and canned produce. Today, most who have a garden do so because they enjoy the work and art of growing food for their family to enjoy. Gardens are no longer mandatory for feeding a family (much like 20 hens, a dairy cow, a beef steer, a hog, etc. also were) because the two-percent grow enough for food the rest of us.
The 2% of Americans farm, which gives 98% of Americans the freedom to do other things.
Other things, such as a chef who prepares a meal for new, exhausted parents who haven’t left the house in more than three weeks.
Other things, such as the 911 dispatcher who calmly answers the phone and talks to a terrified stranger on the other end of the line.
Other things, such as the child protective services employee who removes a child from an unimaginable home situation.
Other things, such as the librarian who encourages a child to put down an iPad and pick up a book, opening up a whole new world.
Other things, such as the generator installer who worked all night so a doctor’s office had restored power by the time the doors opened at 7:30 AM.
Other things, such as the fraud prevention officer at the bank who watches account information so that money within savings accounts stay there.
Other things, such as the fire fighter who runs into a burning building when everyone else is running out.
Other things, such as the loan officer who finds the way to loan a few bucks to a newlywed couple trying to buy their first home.
Other things, such as the tow truck driver who doesn’t sleep when snow falls, roads freeze or potholes get the best of another highway traveler.
2% of Americans farm, which gives 98% of Americans the freedom to do so many other, important things.
While 2% and 98% seem awfully off balance, if you consider the many admirable things others do outside of agriculture, you’ll realize that the work tends to balance. Harvest Land is grateful to be a part of events, such as the Rural Urban Banquet, that allow us to come together for an evening and remember that.
A great way to determine your patience and stamina is to stand in the check-out line at the grocery for an extended period of time with 1,000 other things on your to-do list. No one goes to the grocery to stand around, and yet, we seem to do a lot of that once there.
A great way to determine your overall character as a human being is to evaluate how you react at the grocery, wandering the aisles looking for Ovaltine (FYI: it isn’t with the powered drinks, coffee, or tea. It is with the ice cream toppings. Don’t ask me why, but thank me later) on days before 1) a holiday or 2) a natural disaster.
Isn’t the absolute worst time to visit the store for ketchup, crackers and Kleenex right before something big is about to happen? That’s why in the days leading up to Hurricanes Harvey & Irma store shelves across America’s southeast began looking like this:
When push comes to shove, Americans will stock up on absolutely anything and everything to ensure their families don’t go without.
Or will they?
A lady who was raised in our rural trade territory but has since moved to Florida shared this photo online. As we reviewed the details of her observation, we couldn’t help but chuckle.
When stock of everything else in the store appears to be depleted, the vegan section remains in order and seemingly untouched.
So this begs the question:
When push comes to shove,
where do consumers really
look for nutrition?
It would appear that when the general consumer believes that their access to food might be limited in the days to follow, they will forgo the fad marketing tactics and purchase what they think will truly provide nutrients in times of need.
It makes you wonder: why does it take a natural disaster for folks to make clear, common sense, affordable choices regarding food? Some people just think better under pressure, I guess. They’re probably the kind that end up on gameshows.