Scott County farmers share harvest with adopted lawmaker's constituents

While making their sweet corn delivery, the farmers and Farm Bureau staff get to know local residents and food pantry volunteers, many of whom showed an interest in visiting farms in the near future.

Joseph Thomas, son of Scott County Farm Bureau members Jason and Erica Thomas, unloads a pickup load of sweet corn with help from Rep. Arthur Turner’s workers and volunteers of Chicago’s St. Matthew United Methodist Church. Thomas and his cousin, Jonathan Thomas, grew and donated the corn. (Photo by Blake Roderick, executive director of Pike and Scott County Farm Bureaus)
Joseph Thomas, son of Scott County Farm Bureau members Jason and Erica Thomas, unloads a pickup load of sweet corn with help from Rep. Arthur Turner’s workers and volunteers of Chicago’s St. Matthew United Methodist Church. Thomas and his cousin, Jonathan Thomas, grew and donated the corn. (Photo by Blake Roderick, executive director of Pike and Scott County Farm Bureaus)
By Christina Nourie and Blake Roderick

Recently, Jeremy Thomas of Pittsfield; his son, Jonathan; and nephew, Joseph Thomas, the son of Jason and Erica Thomas, delivered 100 dozen ears of freshly picked sweet corn to a Chicago food pantry in the district of Rep. Arthur Turner, D-Chicago. Turner and Scott County Farm Bureau are matched through Illinois Farm Bureau’s Adopt-a-Legislator Program.  

After driving more than four hours, the farmers were joined by church volunteers and Turner’s workers to unload the corn at the St. Matthew United Methodist Church on the near north side of Chicago. The project partnership included Chicago Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. The fresh corn was distributed to needy families through St. Matthew's food pantry and during Sunday church services.

“The delivery was something we've wanted to do to support the relationship Farm Bureau has with Rep. Turner through the Illinois Farm Bureau's Adopt-a-Legislator program,” said Blake Roderick, Scott County Farm Bureau executive director. “As farming is all about food, the Pike and Scott County Farm Bureaus regularly support food pantries in both counties as well as the Access Illinois Outdoors deer meat project.”

Roderick thanked Prairieland FS Inc. for assisting with the project. The Thomas cousins, Joseph and Jonathan, grow and sell sweet corn as a money-making venture and donated the corn to the food pantry.

While making their delivery, the farmers and Farm Bureau staff chatted with many local residents and food pantry volunteers to learn more about the district. Many local residents showed an interest in visiting farms in the near future.

Thanks to Roderick, the Thomas families and the county Farm Bureau for delivering the corn. Thanks also to Turner and his staff for helping to coordinate the event and corn distribution.

This unique idea was a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community and invest in a strong relationship with an adopted legislator.

Christina Nourie serves as Illinois Farm Bureau northeast legislative coordinator. Blake Roderick serves as executive director of Pike and Scott County Farm Bureaus.

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