In light of the recent sentencing of the former Peanut Corporation of America CEO for his involvement in a salmonella outbreak in 2009, in Blakely, Georgia, it’s nice to be reminded that something good came from all of that.
The Peanut Proud Festival started as a simple way to show everyone that Blakely was still proud of its booming peanut industry, despite the bad publicity of one peanut company. Lea Jean Manry, of Birdsong Peanuts, was the heart and soul behind the first Peanut Proud Festival, which drew almost 2,000 people. She sat down with us and talked about how the idea for Peanut Proud came about.
Now Peanut Proud is more than just a festival, and in 2010, Peanut Proud Inc. was established as a non-profit organization with the mission of “uniting the peanut community by celebrating its pride through humanitarian efforts and the recognition of excellence.” The organization strives to unite the community through the annual festival, contribute to humanitarian efforts by placing peanuts and peanut products in the hands of those in need, and recognize excellence by offering an annual scholarship to help students achieve academic goals that will contribute significantly to food safety.
What started as a way to unite the community of Blakely, and restore pride in the peanut industry, now has a much broader reach than just southwest Georgia. Peanut Proud’s humanitarian efforts have improved the lives of people locally, domestically and internationally. The annual Peanut Proud Festival remains a celebration of pride in the peanut industry, but now that pride puts nutrient-rich peanut butter in the hands of those who need it.
For more information about Peanut Proud, Inc. or to donate or become a volunteer, visit Peanut Proud’s website.