Meet Nell Wade, a gleaner with vision!

Interview with Nell Wade by Carolyn Eicher
Nell Wade joined the GleanSLO Steering Committee this year and we are so happy she did!  Nell is a woman of many talents and offers her expertise, enthusiasm and passion for gleaning and giving back to the community. Nell spends her time involved with many local groups – she is a VP for Master Gardeners, a local group of Seed Savers, and is involved with helping revitalize the SLO Grange. Additionally, she is a member of Slow Money, the Food System Coalition and the local chapter of CRFG (California Rare Fruit Growers) where she is the Market manager for the free Annual Scion Exchange at Cal Poly in February (3rd Saturday). At this event Nell wants to share that homeowners can learn to graft fruit trees and items such as root stock are sold. Nell brings so much wisdom and experience to our committee and is helping us expand the vision of gleaning for our county.

Nell harvesting thousands of pounds of tomatoes for the Food Bank.

“My name is Nell Wade.  I’ve always been interested in growing plants and became a Master Gardener in 2002.  Since moving to the area, I’ve also become interested in growing food, our local food climate and our local food system.  I started volunteering with GleanSLO a couple of years ago as a way to not only get fresh produce to those in need, but also to have a chance to sample different varieties of local produce.  I’ve dried apple chips; made fruit leather, and made freezer jam from the produce we’ve gleaned that are ‘seconds.’  I’ve also been experimenting with drying herbs from my garden.”
“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.”
“I now treat organic produce, whether I’ve bought it, grown it or gleaned it with respect as I want to honor the people that have picked my produce.  It’s exciting to me to see how I can use every bit of the produce, whether that’s feeding ourselves, our chickens or worms or feeding the soil – by composting it.  My vision for GleanSLO as well as the Food Bank is to insure that all in need have the capacity to help themselves to quality food.  That can be done not only by giving them weekly allotments of food, but also to teach them how to garden, preserve (canning, freezing and dehydrating) and build community, so that they have the tools to help themselves and their families.”