The Society of St. Andrew is one of the most unique non-profit organisations in the world. The society is fighting against food waste in the United States.
The history of the organsiation begins in 1979, when two methodists – Rev. Ken Horne and Rev. Ray Buchanan received "a special appointment beyond the local church", in order to create The Society of St. Andrew in Big Island, Virginia.
Over the next few years they switched to a simplified, rustic lifestyle and lived on a self-sustainable farm, growing their own fruits and vegetables and supplying themselves with meat and dairy products from their own livestock which included cows and chickens. Meanwhile, they were organising workshops on the issue ofhunger and how to live a more responsible and less-consumerist lifestyle. During one of these workshops a farmer started to ask the reverends questions about food waste.
That is how the Potato Project was born. Very soon they were provided with a trailer of sweet potatoes which were going to be thrown away. From 1983 up until today the Potato project has donated over 500 million potatoes to U.S. citizens in need.
Today it is one of The Society of St. Andrew’s most important projects. The members of the Society are in contact with local farmers around the country. When the farmer’s potatoes are not accepted by big supermarkets, potato chip factories etc., the potatoes which would normally be thrown away are transported to the closest branch of the society and given to the hungry through various organisations such as: churches, food banks, Native American reservations, and many other different agencies connected to fighting hunger.
The second most important project of The Society of St. Andrew is the Gleaning Network. The name and idea were inspired bythe biblical action of collecting leftover crops after the harvest, crops which would otherwise have been abandoned. The goal of the network is to fight against the cosmetic/aestethic industry standards which food must meet nowadays. Food(in particular fruit and vegetables) that does not meet given industry standards is usually left in the field to rot. In order to prevent this,The Society of St. Andrew has created a wide spread network of volunteers from different backgrounds and organisations who come together to glean the food left behindafter the harvest, with the farmers’ consent. Everything they glean is given to those in need,completely free of charge. Each year around 30,000 people sacrifice their time and energy to salvage around 20 million pounds of food for those in need. The Gleaning Network is organised within the different states of the USA, as well as nationwide.
The last of The Society of St. Andrew’s major projects is the Harvest of Hope project. In brief, the project focuses on ecumenism and worship. It aims to educate people on the global problems of food waste and hunger, both on a local and global scale. Participants also have the chance to take part in the Gleaning events. The whole idea is to organise a week-long event for different age groups. The workshops and the project itself hopes to convince people to commit themselves to solving the problem of hunger and live a balanced, non-consumerist lifestyle.
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