Culture Magazine is proud to be a part of the artisan cheese community. This tight-knit, supportive group of individuals are a constant source of inspiration to us. During the most recent natural disasters, we were struck by the stories from those in our community coming together to help each other.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some of these stories. This one comes from Jessica Little, co-owner of Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Georgia.
After Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, we knew that we had to help in some way, even if it was small. Anyone that lives in the south knows how devastating hurricanes can be to a community. Our hearts hurt for all the hungry people. My husband Jeremy and I often say that our love language is feeding people. It’s part of our mission at Sweet Grass Dairy to try to support as many causes and nonprofits that focus on ending hunger as we can. So, we decided to donate cheese to the Houston Community Food Bank, but we didn’t quite know how to get it there.
We work with Tim Gaddis of In Demand Cheese in Atlanta, who works with several other cheesemakers including Sequatchie Cove Creamery. Padgett Arnold, the co-owner of Sequatchie, was trying to get a refrigerated truck from Tennessee to Houston in order to donate cheese to Harvey victims, but she wasn’t having much luck. Then she reached out to Tim, and he quickly put all of us in contact with Todd Druhot, the purchasing manager at Gourmet Foods International (GFI).
GFI is a distributor and huge champion of American cheeses and was the first to embrace southern cheeses and the exciting things happening down here. They also happen to have a distribution warehouse in Houston. Todd contacted the Houston Community Food Bank director and arranged to send several truckloads of food to the food bank. They hauled our donated products, as well as those from cheesemakers all over the country, for free.
It was truly a big group effort, in which Sweet Grass Dairy played a very small role. These sort of scenarios make me really thankful for our industry and fellow cheese enthusiasts!