For the past five years, Independence Bank employees in Madisonville have planted, cared for and harvested what they call “The Green Acre” — a one-acre plot at Mahr Park to grow fresh vegetables and provide nutritional meal options to those who can’t afford sustainable grocery options.

Typically, at the end of the harvest, the annual Farm to Fork dinner is prepared for over 200 community members using locally grown produce from the Green Acre as well as items from area farmers.

This year, as with so many other community events, it will look a bit different. Without the Farm to Fork dinner there will be an excess of fresh vegetables, but Independence Bank is determined not to let them go to waste.

“This has been a tough year for so many, but as an organization we are focused on seeing the positive,” said Kent Mills, president of Independence Bank. “We may not be able to celebrate in our usual Farm to Fork fashion, but we have been presented with the opportunity to provide healthy, locally grown food to those in need and that means even more to us. Giving back has taken on a new meaning in 2020 and showing our local love is what we are all about.”

The Christian Food Bank of Hopkins County, the Hopkins County Central High School Football team and Baptist Health in Madisonville are a few of the organizations benefiting from the bank’s Green Acre harvest.

The first delivery took place Thursday, July 23rd to several of the nurses at Baptist Health.

“The delivery of food baskets for our nurses who show up for this community each of every day was an afternoon well spent,” said Terry Douglass, an Independence Bank loan officer. “Our team was excited to reimagine what we could do with the harvest and help out the community at the same time.”

The Hopkins County Central High School Football team used corn as a fundraiser bringing in almost $600 in less than three hours. The funds will go towards new helmets and pads for the athletes.

“Fundraising during Covid has been challenging to say the least,” said Christy Moore, Hopkins County Central High School’s football booster president. “We are beyond grateful to have Independence Bank step up and give us this opportunity to raise much needed funds.”

Farm to Fork is typically used as a fundraising event for local agricultural youth and the farmer’s market to support future farmers in Hopkins County and since its inception has raised over $25,000 for local FFA and 4H programs.

“As a Bank we are committed to ensuring that we still support our future farmers, even without the fundraising dollars from the dinner’s ticket sales,” said Mills. “We will continue to have dedicated scholarships for those that move our community forward through agriculture.”

Last year, Independence Bank also awarded two $1,500 scholarships in honor of Danny Peyton, who was instrumental in bringing the Farm to Fork Dinner to life and the bank is dedicated to carrying on his legacy through the annual scholarship program.

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