For the past five years Genevieve Pollock and Todd Sandstrum of Easton MA have been working to get kids in the dirt and interested in the sport of growing giant pumpkins through an organization the duo has developed The South Shore Great Pumpkin Challenge (SSGPC). In the Spring of 2016 they planted 700 seeds that came from growers all around the world. A portion of the seeds went to schools as part of SSGPC School vs. School Regional Grant Program. The group has a weigh off in Easton open to pros, backyard growers and participating schools. The public is welcome to attend. One mile of a local road is lined with the pumpkins for “The Mile of Orange”. The giants are decorated and lit for one week for the public to walk and enjoy for free. Categories like Heaviest Pro Grower, Youngest Grower, Heaviest Youth Pumpkin, and of course the School vs. School Grant winner are presented at the awards ceremony on the opening weekend of The Mile of Orange.
Going into its 4th year in 2015 Todd didn’t think small when he hatched an idea. He aimed to set a record for the longest pumpkin boat run with not only one but two pumpkin boats. ‘The Taunton River Great Pumpkin Run’ took place on September 5th, starting in Middleboro on Summer Street and travelled 3.5 miles finishing in Taunton. While the World Record Academy acknowledged the accomplishment Guinness Book of World Records could not as there was a portion of video missing from the run as it took over 6 hours to complete and batteries died.
This year on September 3, 2016 Todd and Josh will be rowing once again. This time attempting 8 miles with the goal of having a Guinness Judge present to make official. The cost for this is $10,000. and we are hopeful through the generosity of friends, family and corporate support we will raise the funds necessary to get the attempt in the books.
The awareness this event has brought has been incredible and that Todd and Gen's mission will continue. To get kids in the dirt and learning how and where good food is made.