Cullman Master Gardener’s distribute sweet potatoes to non-profit organizations in Cullman

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The Gardeners sort the large surplus of potatoes on Wednesday (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The North Alabama Agriplex hosted the Cullman County Master Gardener’s meeting Wednesday morning. The Gardeners welcomed Adrienne Standridge, coordinator for the Society of St. Andrews, to give a presentation on the project for the day “Gleaning and Gratitude.” Ben Johnson introduced Standridge and spoke about her program, saying it, “is all about gleaning food and sharing the harvest that has been gleaned, so it’s a perfect Thanksgiving time opportunity for us to have.”

Adrienne thanked the Master Gardener’s for having her and explained, “These sweet potatoes were donated by a local farmer here in Cullman, Clark Haynes, who is just amazing to us, he plays a big part in what we do. These are sweet potatoes that he probably wouldn’t be able to sell.” Standridge further explained that farmers often must discard potatoes that are too small or not uniform. “What Clark does and several other farmers in the state of Alabama do, is they let us come in and grab these, what we call ‘rescue’ that food so it doesn’t go to waste. Then, we are able to help end hunger in our communities by contacting feeding agencies, soup kitchens, church pantries. It also helps to offset their costs. They can spend their money on other things they need. But the people receiving the food can have some nutritious, fresh produce instead of just always the canned food and the dry stuff.”

The group worked together, putting about 10 sweet potatoes per bag. They were then separated into five groups to be dispersed to various organizations in Cullman. The donated sweet potatoes will go to The Link of Cullman, Fairview First United Methodist Church, Cullman First United Methodist Church Knapsacks program, Hanceville Knapsacks program and the Caring Center.

Any farmer that donates to the Society of St. Andrews receives a tax deduction letter at the end of the year vouching for every pound donated.

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