Hunger Knows No Season

On this week of Thanksgiving, Harvest Land and Land O’Lakes partnered to donate $2,000 to the Monthly Food Ministry organized by the Centerville United Methodist Church in Wayne County.

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We made a similar donation in 2018 during the warm summer months, but when the church reached out and said more and more families are in line every month and the need was again great, we knew we must help because hunger knows no season. 

Who Will This Donation Serve?

Since their first Monthly Food Ministry in September of 2017, the number of families they support has steadily increased. In 2018, they averaged 65 families a month, but in November of 2019, 91 families came through the door to receive assistance.

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They purchase food for the food ministry from Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and buying food for approximately 65 families costs around $1,000 per month. The vast majority of that cost has come from the faithful contributions of the members and friends of the Centerville United Methodist Church, but as their assistance numbers go up, so do costs to Gleaners. It only makes mathmatical sense that they must budget more dollars per month to purchase food from Gleaners, so our $2,000 contribution helps to fill that gap.

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Jared Martin, Harvest Land CFO, (front right) presents the check on November 25 at the church. 

The church keeps no record of where the families they serve come from as they want a completely open food ministry, but they do know that families are coming from Cambridge City, Pershing, Richmond, and elsewhere.

So, Where Will $2,000 Go?

100% of the $2,000 will go to purchase food from Gleaners for future Monthly Food Ministries. The food that the food bank pays for from Gleaners includes canned goods, boxed items, and other items that can be stored on the shelf.  Occasionally, Gleaners offers MotherEarthNews_FallVegetableHarvest_Oct_20131meat and dairy products (milk, butter, eggs, yogurt), but they are limited right now by refrigeration and are currently in the process of creating a “cold room” in the church food room.  This project should be finished sometime in December.  They also get produce from Gleaners, but produce is usually provided at no cost. While Gleaners is their main source of produce, it is not their only. They also get produce from local growers, the Amish auction in northern Wayne County, and the Community Garden at the ARC Center in Richmond.

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Have Food, Will Travel

When necessary, the Monthly Food Ministry will deliver, and every month there is at least one family that needs transportation. They revealed to us that last summer a lady and her two daughters walked a great distance from a trailer park to receive food. Rather than make her carry two or three heavy boxes/bags back on a busy highway, they loaded her up in a pick-up truck and transported her, her daughters, and her food back home.

Too often the food ministry group hears, “I don’t know what I would do without this food.”  Almost all of the folks receiving food are overly grateful for the assistance.

We’re proud to partner with Land O’Lakes to provide this hunger relief assistance in the Centerville area this holiday season.

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Leadership in Action: First Run Donation

It is somewhat astonishing to think that we can send mankind to the moon and there are still hungry children in our community.

So when Land O’Lakes invited our CEO, Scott Logue, to take part in a donation of 39,690 pounds of freshly made Land O’Lakes’ macaroni and cheese to Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, he didn’t hesitate to join the efforts.

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The First Run program, one of Land O’Lakes projects with Feeding America, makes fresh product specifically for donation to food banks across the United States. Last year, they donated 476,280 pounds of product to food banks nationwide.

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The First Run program was introduced in 2010 to increase the amount of product donated to food banks across the country. This is the sixth donation made to Ohio! Land O’Lakes has committed to donating truckloads of fresh product to several food banks each quarter and we’re grateful to have been a part of this one right here in our trade area.

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Scott is pictured (second from left) with team members from Land O’Lakes, Kroger, Advantage Solutions and Freestore Foodbank.

To date, Land O’Lakes has made over 100 donations to food banks across the United States, totaling more than 5 million pounds of product.

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While there was no camera crew in Cincinnati, we do have a video of a First Run donation that Land O’Lakes did in South Dakota – hopefully, it gives a little feel for what the event is like:

Harvest Land is grateful to be part of such a donation to our community. We understand the troubling magnitude of hunger and we want to be a part of the solution. We offer a sincere thanks to Land O’Lakes for allowing us to be a part of this donation. We’re proud to be members of a national cooperative that gives so much to communities in which we live and work.

Food Desert? Not in Our Backyard

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. Land_O_Lakes_Logo.svg 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.

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Left to right:  Karen Dickson, Sam Dickson, Sally McCaslin, Jan Hofmann, Ken McCaslin, Kevin Smith, Jess Price and Jared Martin, Harvest Land’s CFO

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.

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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. 

 

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The Final Chapter of the GMO Argument?

GMOs have been in the news lately, and for once, it’s been positive press.

For nearly twenty years, genetically modified organisms have attracted negative attention brought on by poorly informed non-experts with access to the masses. Ah, the power of modern day social media.

But as of late, a series of articles have supported the benefits, safety and value of genetically modified organisms. It is thought that this public breakthrough could finally put to bed the argument of the safety of GMOs to human health. Additionally, a well-known, brilliant billionaire has weighed in, giving GMOs a boost in the right direction in public eye.

The Breakthrough:

A recent meta-analyses, which sorted through hundreds or thousands of studies (how would you like to have that job?) to separate the fact from the noise and draw surer conclusions from scientific data, compared GMO corn with conventional varieties.

The analysis of over 6,000 peer-reviewed studies covering 21 years of data found that GMO corn increased yields up to 25 percent and dramatically decreased dangerous food contaminants. The study analyzed field data from 1996, when the first GMO corn was planted, through 2016 in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

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Key findings:

  • GMO corn varieties increased crop yields 5.6 to 24.5 percent relative to their non-GMO equivalents
  • GMO corn crops had lower percentages of mycotoxins (-28.8 percent), which can lead to economic losses and harm human and animal health. What exactly are mycotoxins?:
    • Mycotoxins, chemicals produced by fungi, are both toxic and carcinogenic to humans and animals. A significant percentage of non-GM and organic corn contain small amounts of mycotoxins. These chemicals are often removed by cleaning in developing countries, but the risk still exists.Genetically modified  corn has substantially fewer mycotoxins because the plants are modified to experience less crop damage from insects. Insects weaken a plant’s immune system and make it more susceptible to developing the fungi that produce mycotoxins.
  • The study also reaffirmed the scientific consensus that genetically modified corn does not pose risks to human health.

Let’s review that last point again:

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For years the misinformed have argued that GMOs in the U.S. and Canada haven’t increased crop yields and could threaten human health; this meta analysis proved just the opposite.

 

The Billionaire

Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates recently participated in an “Ask Me Anything” online forum and remarked that not only does he view genetically modified foods as “perfectly healthy,” but that he sees them as a promising tool in a wider array of resources in the fight to reduce world hunger.

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“GMO foods are perfectly healthy and the technique has the possibility to reduce starvation and malnutrition when it is reviewed in the right way,” Gates wrote. “I don’t stay away from non-GMO foods but it is disappointing that people view it as better.”

gatesHis strong and public opinion of GMOs is getting press because it seems to be the opposite of others’ who aren’t necessarily educated on the topic, but are quite passionate (and maybe vocal?) about it. It appears that for once, someone with a mighty microphone did their homework and has made a personal decision for the benefit of progress and health.

When speaking of the argument regarding the safety and value of GMOs?
As far as we’re concerned, the book is closed.

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Information came from these sources:

After Two Decades of GMOs, Scientists Find They Live up to Their Promise

Bill Gates calls GMOs ‘perfectly healthy’ — and scientists say he’s right

Does GMO corn increase crop yields? 21 years of data confirm it does—and provides substantial health benefits

 

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