The Cleveland County Potato Project grew out of an idea that came from a Sunday School Class at the First Baptist Church of Shelby, N. C. At the time (Fall, 2009), Cleveland County had an unemployment rate of 12% and a recent history of layoffs and plant closings. Social service agencies were having a difficult time providing food and services.
It is the goal of the Cleveland County Potato Project (CCPP), a non-profit charitable organization, to produce white and sweet potatoes to be given to people in need of food. Local agencies such as the Salvation Army would be given these potatoes at no cost. Any agency receiving these products would be required to give them to their clients..
We seek donations of land, labor and supplies sufficient to grow significant amounts of potatoes. We have been advised by a representative of the North Carolina Agricultural Service and local professional growers. Physical assistance for land preparation, planting, weeding harvesting, etc., is sought from local organizations such as Future Farmers of America, 4-H Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, school groups,Church organizations, Civic Clubs, etc.
In a really terrible growing season, 10,000 lbs. of white potatoes were grown and distributed. There were more than 20,000 pounds of sweet potatoes that were harvested the 2011 season. In the 2012 season over 80,000 lbs of potatoes were harvested. Raising enough money to grow ten acres of white potatoes and three acres of sweet potatoes. If we reach these goals, we will try for more.
Donations and grants are solicited from interested parties. We wanted The Potato Project to have broad support from the county. It was not to be a one denomination project or focus on only one area of the county. We were equal opportunity beggars. We also do not have any plans to sell any of the potatoes, we are not competing with any business. With the right support and facilities, we could provide potatoes for a period of 12 or more weeks per year and a year around supply of sweet potatoes.