Food ministry gives produce a second chance
By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer
First United Methodist Church in Clanton held a potato drop at the church on March 11.
About 20 volunteers spent the morning sorting, bagging and distributing over 5 tons of sweet potatoes.
Society of St. Andrew organized the event. The group partners with local churches and farmers to get fresh food onto the plates of people in need.
Program coordinator Hannah Kren explained that the sweet potatoes being used were labeled as unmarketable by the United States Department of Agriculture. Kren said the potatoes most likely would have been thrown out if the program did not take them.
The grade the potatoes received does not necessarily mean they are unfit for consumption, according to Kren. To keep the good potatoes from going to waste, the volunteers cull out inedible potatoes and bag the rest in five-pound bags to be distributed on-site.
“We are trying to recover some of that food waste,” Kren said. “The best purpose it can serve is feeding people.”
The leftover potatoes will be given to food pantries, which often struggle getting fresh, healthy foods in stock, according to Kren.
To further avoid waste, the bad potatoes will most likely be used to feed livestock.
“We want to keep this food out of a landfill,” Kren said.
According to the USDA, an estimated 30-40 percent of the food supply is wasted in the U.S. every year, and food waste is the largest component going into municipal landfills.
To learn more about the Society of St. Andrew’s food ministry, visit endhunger.org.