Partnerships That Make a Difference: Commodities for Communities

As part of the university’s successful Carnegie Community Engagement Classification application process, the Office of Research and Engagement has compiled a list of fifty of UT’s best community-campus partnerships. The university will be celebrating its status as an engaged institution throughout the coming year by featuring these individual examples in articles that highlight their unique contribution to the community.

Commodities for Communities

commoditiesThis unique program was initiated by Tennessee farmers who wished to support UT by giving a portion of their crops instead of money. Commodities for Communities allows agricultural producers to make a direct transfer of a commodity such as grain, corn, or soybeans to the UT Foundation. The foundation sells the commodities and invests the proceeds back into a community-based program of the grower’s choice. Since the program was implemented in spring 2013, groups of producers in six counties (Dyer, Crockett, Gibson, Weakley, Fayette, and Obion) have pledged their support for UT Extension agriculture programs totaling $1.9 million. Program coordinators with UT anticipate within the next year there will be at least two other county producer groups who will join the list of those pledging support.

Related Feature: Gifting Grains for the Business of Community Livelihood

“They wanted to establish something now that would allow them and their families in the future to have more security,” said Michele Sides, director of advancement for UTIA. “It opens up a lot of doors for people who weren’t connected to the university.”