Celebrating Gleaning & Storytelling
Listen to Gleaners' Stories

To find the story of a particular gleaner, go to the Search page.

The Gleaning Stories Project collects and broadcasts the stories of gleaners in the Salinas Valley. Listen to gleaners' stories and see photo galleries of the gleaners collecting surplus food for the hungry.


glean (glEEn)

verb tr & intr gleaned, gleaning

  1. To collect loose grain and other useful remnants of a crop left in a field after harvesting.
  2. To collect information bit by bit, often with difficulty.
    synonyms: cull, gather, amass, collect, learn, pick up

Spanish pepenar, rebuscar

Derivative: gleaner noun
Derivative: gleanings plural noun

Things which have been or may be gleaned, especially bits of information.

[Middle English glenen, from Old French glener, from Late Latin glenna-re, probably of Celtic origin.]

harvest basket

This website is the Web companion to a radio project "The Gleaners of Salinas Valley" by The Generations Project in Santa Cruz, CA.

Stories from
the Field
We talk to gleaners in the field at gleans. Go to the Gleans page to see short descriptions of each glean and a link to the page where you can listen to stories collected at that glean. For example, you'll find the plum glean on 25 July 2009:
plums july 25

A real glean in an organic plum orchard near Castroville. The farm had been in the same family since the late 19th century. We were doing the third pass through this orchard, so it took sharp eyes and a little luck to find the remaining plums that were ripe but not over-ripe. more ...

Sometimes a field conversation is long enough that we make a separate page for it, so that you can hear several excerpts. For example, at the glean on 6 June 2009, we talked with a mother and daughter:
Isabel & Francisca photo

Francisca Corpus, a seamstress in Watsonville, came to this country at 14 to work the fields with her father and siblings. Gleaning reminds her of the long hours with little pay and of how her education had to be deferred. She wanted something different for her daughter, Isabel, and was surprised that Isabel liked gleaning. Mother and daughter share their different experiences of being in the fields. more ...

Longer Stories We also have extended conversations with gleaners away from the fields, where we can sit and talk about their lives and how their experiences relate to their gleaning. Go to the Gleaners page to find these stories. There you'll find stories like:
lupe rivas

Lupe Rivas grew up in Texas and worked in the fields before she became a pioneer of bilingual education in Bakersfield. She remembers making dolls out of the overgrown cucumbers in the fields where her parents worked, but says it was hard to write that story until she switched to writing in Spanish, her only language in those years. Introducing her children and grandchildren to field work has challenged her ingenuity. more ...

koelle sisters

Sandra Koelle is a graduate student, a gleaner, a canner, a community gardener, and a dumpster diver. Her mother took her gleaning on three continents (in Germany, Japan, and the US) when she was growing up, though Sandra was a reluctant gleaner as a child. She talks about her mother's lifetime of gleaning. more ...

california stories ucsc inta - trainingweal
Partially Funded by the California Council for the Humanities, UC Santa Cruz, and INTA - TrainingWeal.

Please use the Contact Us link if you find inaccuracies or typos. Thanks.