Lott's Fight Hunger!
At the Florida State University, the third cohort of Presidential Scholars is searching for ways to better our local community in and around Tallahassee. As aresult, we developed a "public service initiative" project to tackle food insecurity and hunger. Each semester, scholars volunteer at and communicate with several non-profit organizations, while discussing readings on food justice and hunger issues with faculty and experts on such issues. As many scholars have directly volunteered at Lott's Community Gardens, we have witnessed the incredible work delivered by this non-profit organization. Canned goods tend to offer less than ideal nutritional value for the famished, so Lott's Community Gardens is able to provide locally grown produce for Second Harvest Food Bank, including potatoes, kale, and turnips. In the end, our goal is to help those who help others.
Please read the story of Lott's Community Gardens below:
For the past five years, Lott's Community Gardens (LCG) and Second Harvest of the Big Bend have been highly successful in growing Red Russet potatoes. Each year, we improve on our growing techniques and production, but we consistently find that about 20 to 30% of our crop is not harvested. This is because we are digging potatoes using a middle buster plow that fails to lift the potatoes to the surface and, in fact, often further covers them up. Volunteers are unable to dig and find the potatoes because of the physical effort required and the very large area that has to be harvested.
To increase our yield at harvest time, we are in need of a mechanical potato harvester.
Lott's has identified a potato digger (see photos above) with the following attributes:
- Rear potato discharge
- Connects to category I tractor with PTO
- Easily digs up a hill of potatoes and leaves them on top of the ground in a clean, neat row for Second Harvest volunteers to pick up.
This unit is designed for up to 30 HP tractors which is already supplied by LCG and is designed for large gardens like the Second Harvest garden.
This year’s potato crop will be planted in mid-February and will be ready for harvest within 12-14 weeks of planting. Presidential Scholars would like to raise funds so that Lott's can reach its full potential in producing crops for the Second Harvest of the Big Bend. The potato harvester will be used between late April and very early May, so we hope to meet this timeline as we fundraise.
The $3,500 goal set by our fundraiser includes the total cost of the machine and delivery. Any remaining dollars will also be used specifically for the garden's efforts and go towards supplies such as diesel for the tractor, seeds, and fertilizer, to account for the expanding recruitment of student volunteers.
Thank you so much for taking your time to read our story, and please support our cause, or share this cause with your friends and family!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at:
With kind regards,
Presidential Scholars Cohort 3