Enjoy our November 2014 edition!
Enjoy our October 2014 edition!
“My favorite thought is that from my labor a child or family can have nutritious produce several times a week. It also gives me a better perspective of what it takes to harvest a crop and I’m less likely to waste it.”
“The Talley family and our employees are pleased to ship weekly fresh produce to the Food Bank. We believe that providing the opportunity for GleanSLO volunteers to come in and glean our fields is another way to care for those in need. The enthusiasm of the volunteers from Glean SLO makes working with them a real pleasure as we come together to support our community. “
Todd Talley, CFO, Talley Farms
The Talley family has been donating harvested weekly fresh produce to the Food Bank for more than 4 years, donating more than 300,000 pounds of food since 2010. The Oceano Food Bank warehouse team has been receiving this produce and sharing it within 24 hours with Food Bank agencies and recipients. In 2012, the Talley family generously welcomed GleanSLO and Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School students for a bell pepper glean. Hosted by Brian and Johnine Talley as well as their daughters, this glean opened the door to future opportunities. GleanSLO is grateful to the Talley family, both family members and employees, for their generous spirit in not only allowing us into their fields, but by additionally believing in the importance of supporting a healthy community and donating already harvested produce each week. We want to thank the Talley family for their generous contributions!
Interview with Andrea Shapiro Chavez by Carolyn Eicher
Please share information about you and your background:
Andrea Shapiro Chavez, Manager, Fresh Harvest, Talley Farms
Andrea is a Cal Poly graduate, earning a degree in Economics in 1980. She has spent the last 30 years working at various levels in the produce business from Western Regional Sales Manager for Dole Fresh Vegetables, to being a Buying Broker, shipping produce all over the world, to owning her own business for 13 years delivering fresh produce and gourmet food to homes and offices in Southern California. In February of 2012, Talley Farms hired her to create a new, local, consumer program for them called Talley Farms Fresh Harvest. As a mother, wife and cook who loves fruits and vegetables, her passion in life is to “GET PEOPLE TO EAT MORE PRODUCE!”
We would love to know more about the Talley history!
For over three generations, Talley Farms has been growing high quality fruits and vegetables. It all started in 1948, when Oliver Talley began growing vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley on California’s Central Coast. Talley Farms is now a diversified family-owned farming operation that grows, packs and ships a variety of fruits and vegetables, including bell peppers, wine grapes, napa cabbage, lemons, avocados, cilantro and brussels sprouts. Brian, Todd, Ryan and Rosemary Talley are active in all aspects of the day-to-day operations of Talley Farms, following the company’s vision to strive for “Excellence in Everything.”
What is your connection to gleaning and GleanSLO?
I first heard about GleanSLO from participating in the SLO County Food System Coalition. I always think of calling Jen Miller, GleanSLO Program Manager, when we have extra product in our Fresh Harvest fields and don’t have the labor to harvest it. Jen is so enthusiastic about life and her job with the food bank. I love communicating with her! If we have the labor, we’ll go ahead and harvest the product and then donate it directly to the food bank.
What do you like about GleanSLO?
What I like the most about GleanSLO is we don’t have to use our labor to harvest a crop that we have chosen not to sell. And it doesn’t get wasted! All the volunteers are so positive and energetic. It’s great to see them out in our fields!
Can you share ideas with us about the future of GleanSLO and the vision for a healthy community?
As the word gets out about GleanSLO and your ability to gather your volunteer troops to harvest, more and more growers will be calling you to finish up certain fields that they may not want to sell due to market conditions. There are three of us at Talley Farms that communicates with Jen about fields available for gleaning. As Jen gets to know more and more growers, there will be more product available for the food bank.
Any messages you’d like to share with other farmers who might be considering working with GleanSLO?
Jen Miller is the key to having a warm and consistent relationship with GleanSLO and the food bank. We are also happy to see volunteers who are aware of food safety standards that we follow in our fields. We do not usually allow volunteers or strangers in our fields.
GleanSLO had a need, we were really in a pinch. Homeless, you might say…
In August, we discovered that our comfortable storage space in the city of SLO (our central hub housing all gleaning supplies and equipment) was to be sold and we needed to find a new space pronto, before Oct. 1st. We panicked for a brief second. Then we remembered that we are a part of a community that loves all things gleaning. So we shouted our need from the rooftops, the social media mountains and the newsletter outlets. And the most amazing thing happened.
Andy Niner of Niner Wine Estates called and offered to have a Mystery Wine Sale to benefit GleanSLO. He basically gleaned some of his older vintages to make room for newer vintages, sold the Mystery Wine cases (which were a combo of delish older and newer vintages) and gave 100% of the proceeds to GleanSLO to purchase storage space and supplies. The check totaled $6,300! It was like the gleaning gods were all singing in harmony, shining a little light upon us!
There was only one problem.
We had money for a shed, but no property to put it on.
So Andy Niner called his friend over at Meathead Movers. “Hi Aaron. There’s an organization, GleanSLO – from the Food Bank – that needs your help renting storage space. If you can donate a portion of the rent, I’ll fit the bill.” DONE. Meathead Movers donated a space big enough for all of GleanSLO’s equipment with room to grow.
We literally jumped for joy. A lot. (A very excited, and somewhat embarrassing, jumping Jeanine and Jen video: IMG_6989)
This story is worth telling because it reminds us that GleanSLO is a program of the community, for the community, by the community. We recognize that we are blessed to live in a region of such abundance and it is our responsibility to do good with the resources we’ve been given. When the community has a need, we come together to meet the challenge. It doesn’t take much to move mountains! Please help us support our sponsors, Meathead Movers and Niner Wine Estates. Be good to those that keep programs like GleanSLO going strong!
Enjoy our September 2014 edition!
“It’s cool to see the ‘fruits’ of our labor.”
Interview by Carolyn Eicher
Mike Constable is a Cal Poly graduate who soon begins training with the Air National Guard as a pilot to fly transport planes. Since early 2013, Mike has volunteered with GleanSLO, bringing enthusiasm, a great attitude and muscle! This year he chose to become a Neighborhood Harvest Leader and lead his own local gleans. We are pleased to share an interview with Mike here and want to thank him for his energy and dedication to GleanSLO!
GS: Please tell us about yourself:
I’ve enjoyed the awesomeness the central coast has to offer over the last six years. During and after school at Cal Poly, I worked at the San Luis Obispo Airport. As a Line Service Technician I fueled planes and aided arrivals/departures. I graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Construction Management and continued to pursue my dream of flying. I was selected to attend Air Force Pilot Training and I’m currently awaiting training to begin later this fall.
GS: How did you find out about GleanSLO?
I actually just googled ‘San Luis Obispo Volunteering’ and stumbled across the GleanSLO webpage which worked very well at organizing gleans.
GS: What is your favorite part of gleaning?
I have two favorite parts. First, driving out to glean spectacular farms/locations on the central coast. The scenery around these farms is truly remarkable. Second, dropping off gleaned food to charities, agencies and food pantries. The smiles and thank you’s we received from distributors of gleaned food really made me feel like I helped someone out. It’s cool to see the ‘fruit’ of our labor.
GS: Any memorable stories/farms/connections you’ve made through GleanSLO?
Getting recognized multiple times as a ‘gleaner’ at the grocery store always gave me a chuckle. I also had fun getting to know the other volunteers. Regardless of age or background, our common interests always insured we were volunteering among friends. I remember showing up late to my first glean at an orange orchard in Nipomo due to a dead car battery. From then on I was hooked and much more punctual.
Enjoy our August 2014 edition!
Vince Petrie, a Neighborhood Harvest Leader
Vince started volunteering with GleanSLO at the beginning of 2013. At that time he fearlessly approached many of his neighbors to ask if they’d like to donate their excess fruit. This is when we had some of our FIRST Neighborhood-wide Collections! Now Vince is a seasoned Neighborhood Harvest Leader. Thanks for all or your great ideas, Vince! Keep ‘em coming!
I’m a scrounger by nature. I like to take things that other people don’t want and find a use for them, giving them a second life. Before I found GleanSLO, as I would walk around my neighborhood I was bothered by all the fruit that was falling on the ground and rotting. I thought that there must be a way to save this fruit. I thought about starting a neighborhood produce exchange. That was just about the time I found out about GleanSLO. So I called them and volunteered.
I saw a GleanSLO flyer somewhere, can’t remember where. So I called the number on the flyer and took it from there.
My favorite part is participating in a group activity with others who share my enthusiasm for the task at hand. I tend to be more of a loner, not fond of team or group activities. But I’ve found that gleaning is an exception for me.
Gleaning gives me great satisfaction, and here’s why. The corporate food industry has made it its mission to sell us cheap, unhealthy food (or food-like products) that maximize their profits, while paying lip service to our health. Meanwhile, they demand and get government subsidies from self-serving politicians. When I glean, I’m helping to provide healthy food, at no cost, to people who need it but can’t afford grocery store prices. Gleaning completely bypasses corporations and government while contributing to the betterment of our community. That makes me very happy.