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The Agurban

#651 – The Green Acre

Sep 5, 2017


A couple weeks ago we shared with our readers the results of a great program offered at Washington Savings Bank in Effingham, Illinois, to help young entrepreneurs run their own business (#WSBSummertimeCEO). We have recently learned of another great program initiated by a community bank. The Green Acre project was started by Independence Bank in Hopkins County, Kentucky. We love this idea! Below are details of the project, excerpted from American Bankers’ Intraday News Update.

The Green Acre – Farming an acre is one of the unusual duties at this bank branch

One Sunday a few years ago, Terry Douglass caught a feature on the morning news about a professional football player who had given up his career to teach people how to grow food.

Douglass, a lender at the $2.1 billion-asset Independence Bank, was inspired by his mission, and she began to consider if her branch could do something similar to feed the people in her community.

So she proposed that the staff at her branch in Hopkins County, Kentucky, plant and harvest crops to be donated.

A few days after Kent Mills was hired as the branch’s new president, Douglass pitched the idea. “I was like, ‘Sure, it’s something different. Let’s give it a shot,’” Mills said.

Now employees are in their third year of planting and harvesting crops from an acre of land at Mahr Park, a local recreation facility with educations programs in agriculture.

Every employee at the branch pitches in with the initiative, dubbed “The Green Acre.” Once the food is harvested, it is sent to several food banks in the community, including one at the Salvation Army.

“This isn’t in anyone’s job description,” Mills said. “I’ve been moved by the passion that our employees have had. We will continue as long as they want to.”

The reaction from the community and the bank’s headquarters in Owensboro, Kentucky, has been positive.

“One time when we delivered food to a food bank for the first time, the director looked at me and said what a blessing we were and cried,” lender Cathy Peyton said. “We’re just doing good for our community. It’s a good feeling to know you’re helping people.”

Community banks can play an integral role in the communities in which they are located. We love community banks!  They are a very important life-blood of the community.  Towns without them are at a severe disadvantage.