Dec 3, 2014

Giving Thanks to the NFL

Jason Brown

This Holiday Season, include the NFL in the list of people to be grateful for.

The highest paid center in the NFL left $12.5 million on the table to become a farmer.  Not just to become a farmer but to feed the hungry.

29 year old  Jason Brown left the St. Louis Rams to start First Fruits Farm,  He had plenty of time to get another big contract from the NFL and his agent told him he was crazy.  In 2012, Brown — who graduated from UNC but knew nothing about farming — started to teach himself farming by watching videos on youtube.

The farm he bought was a 1000 acre former dairy, but Brown has been growing sweet potatoes and cucumber (so far).  He gained expertise working with local farmer Len Wester.  This year Brown has given away 46,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and 10,000 pounds of cucumbers to help the less fortunate.

The NFL gets a bad reputation for players who misbehave, but many of the players tend to give back to their communities and to organizations with foundations that don’t get the same publicity.  Sure, you hear about the big ones like Peyton Manning’s and Drew Brees’ but there are more than 180 individual NFL player foundations, most of which we have never heard of.  Many are for inner city kids, underprivileged youth, disabled youth and  just plains kids, and others are for conditions that my have touched a player’s family.  There are foundations to fight lukemia and autism.  Ben Rothlisberger has a foundation for policemen and firemen.  There is a legacy foundation for Pat Tillman, who quit football to fight in Afghanistan and was killed by friendly fire.

So Jason Brown might not be all that notable in the NFL, except that he quit football and left several million on the table in order to serve the hungry. (  According to the site Feeding America in 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children. 14.6% of our population doesn’t have enough food).

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Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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