Long & Foster Blacksburg Agent of 11 years, Darin Greear, grew up on a family farm and had a lifelong dream of purchasing an adjoining farm to his family’s farm. That dream has allowed him to help food pantries throughout the area provide fresh produce to those in need.
In 2007, Greear and his wife, Tabitha, purchased Windy Hills Farm, and decided to replant an alfalfa field, adding turnips into the field as well. He fertilized it, the rain came, and the turnips outgrew the alfalfa. “We had thousands and thousands of pounds of turnips and I did not want them to go to waste,” Greear said of that first year.
Luckily, Greear was put in touch with Sarah Ramey of the Society of St. Andrews (SoSA), which organizes volunteer groups to glean excess yields from farmers’ fields. Every year since then, Greear has been donating the yields from his farm to food pantries across the New River Valley and beyond. On Windy Hills Farm, he now dedicates 6 to 7 acres for the sole purpose of growing food to supply for SoSA.
In early fall, he sells his pesticide-free sweet corn and donates all the proceeds to the Society of St. Andrews. On top of that, Greear and his wife, match what was raised from the sale of the corn to donate to another food pantry in Floyd County, Va., called Plenty. This year a total of $508 was raised to create 25,400 servings of food for the Society of St. Andrews, and $508 was donated to Plenty. Greear also allows Plenty to come to the farm and collect any produce that has not yet been collected.
November is the time of year when turnips are ready to be harvested and groups from across the New River Valley have helped to collect the vegetables from the more than 5 acres where they grow. The Society of St. Andrews organizes days for volunteers to come to glean the turnips and hosted events on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday to finish the process. From 2009 to 2012, the Society of St. Andrews collected 29,120 pounds of turnips, which were donated to Feeding America Southwest Virginia Food Bank in Roanoke. Greear’s farm averages about 80,000 pounds every year in turnips alone and the farmers that lease other sections of the farm also support the endeavor.
Long & Foster Real Estate is committed to the success of its sales associates and is an industry leader in providing the latest and best tools, technology and training. The company is also committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work ”“ a value that its many agents also hold. For more information, visit www.LongandFoster.com.