Interview by Roxanne Sanders and Carolyn Eicher
- Please introduce yourself and share a little about your background.
Hi I am Dylan Jones and I was born and raised in Santa Maria, CA. While growing up on the central coast, I spent a lot of my time playing sports. I went to Willamette University in Salem, Oregon where I ran track and played football. Willamette is where I found my passion for the environment, while getting my degree in environmental science and geography. In my free time I love to garden and stay active.
- When and how did you hear about GleanSLO? What interests you about the work we do? Would love a personal story or connection about what gleaning means to you, or why you decided to get involved, etc.
I first heard about GleanSLO through the organization AmeriCorps. I love what GleanSLO does for a few different reasons, such as the waste reduction aspect of gleaning. While in school, I had experiences with different homeless populations. These experiences made me want to make a difference in people’s lives and this is a great way to give back to my community.
- Has anything been surprising as you learn more about food access and hunger in our community?
I was surprised by our donating farmers’ willingness to share their crop, as well as how helpful they are during a glean. I had not realized how tilling under edible produce can be to be a waste of potential food and energy. It was great to hear directly from farmers, no matter their scale, how thankful they are to have their produce harvested and shared with our community in need.
- We’d love to know about the other work you’ve done previously — or other community involvement and what inspires you to be involved and give back to the community?
A few summers ago, I worked with Meathead Movers. I loved being able to tell customers that the company was started by two brothers from SLO who saw a need for a local moving company. There’s something special about using an organization created by your community, for your community.
- Do you have any ideas about the future of GleanSLO and the vision for a healthy community? How can we improve our work and our reach? How do you see GleanSLO making a difference locally?
My favorite part about GleanSLO are the backyard harvests. Homeowners love knowing that their yard’s bounty is distributed locally to those in need. It’s always impressive doing the large gleans and seeing the massive amounts of produce brought in. The largest glean I’ve been a part of was 4,300 pounds of apples! Whether large or small, our gleans provide nutritious produce to our food insecure residents and serve as community building moments. I love to be a part of this process.
- Do you have a favorite fruit or veggie recipe you’d like to share? Or a resource of where you find inspiration for cooking or healthy eating?
Healthy eating is not my strong suit (at the moment!) but I take pride in my kale smoothies! My go-to smoothie is a combination of almond milk, ice, kale, celery, apple, and flax seed. Blend on high until smooth. Add agave nectar if needed and blend again. This recipe keeps me gleaning all day!
- Anything else you’d like to share about GleanSLO or a story that might be of interest to our readers?
I know my time has been short here, but I already love GleanSLO. The work we do and the way we do it is extremely inspiring, I’m still amazed that I get to paid to work here!