Gleaning Stories, Gleaning Change

Portraits of Gleaners

These are mostly longer stories recorded out of the field.
For many more stories recorded at gleans, follow the links on the Gleans page.
To search for gleaners and find their stories, go to the alphabetical Search page.

Nick Pavlina

nick pavlina photo

Nick is a semi-retired software engineer who grew up in the Santa Clara Valley north of San Jose. He saw the area change from a patchwork of fruit and nut orchards into Silicon Valley. From childhood work selling fruit from his grandfather's orchards at roadside stands and working summers in the canneries to a career as a software engineer and system designer, his 67-year life has reflected some of those same changes. more ...

Listen to Nick's Stories

Christina Jogoleff & Mauricio Macias


Christina and Mauricio have strong ties to Watsonville and strong passions for social justice and helping young people. Family connections to farming range from Mexico to Michigan to the Central Valley. Family stories include sabotage for the UFW and resistance to oil company threats to local water supplies in rural Mexico. Christina and Mauricio share an expansive vision of gleaning as an activity and as an ideal. more ...

Listen to Christina and Mauricio's Stories

Sandra Koelle


Sandra 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 and her younger sister are avid gleaners now. She has dreams of a Persimmon Project in Santa Cruz that would combine community performance with getting the spate of unwanted persimmons to folks whom they'd delight. more ...

Listen to Sandra's Stories

Lupe Rivas

lupe rives

Lupe Rivas was one of the pioneers of bilingual education in Bakersfield. She now teaches and does other education-related work around the communities of Watsonville and Pajaro Valley. Her family did field work in Texas and later in southern California. more ...

Listen to Lupe Rivas's Story

Alan McEwen

gleaner image

Alan worked for over 20 years as a newspaper photographer. Now, he teaches English as a second language. Many of his students are farm laborers or live in families who are dependent on farm labor for their livelihood. Gleaning, he says, takes him out of himself. And being in the fields gives him a new perspective on his surroundings. more ...

Listen to Alan McEwen's Story

Isabel and Francisca Corpus


Isabel is a student at Pajaro Valley High School who first came gleaning to experience the field work both of her parents had done when they were younger. Two weeks later, Isabel got her mother, Francisca, to join her in gleaning. They compared their experiences. more ...

Listen to Isabel and Francisca's Story

Ananda Jimenez


Ananda, who grew up in California and New England, was an organic farmer in Oregon, Florida, and New York before returning to California and becoming volunteer coordinator for Ag Against Hunger's gleaning project. Farming has given her an inside look at waste, even on small farms. Gleaning, canning, and self-reliance are intertwined in her life. more ...

Listen to Ananda Jimenez's Story

Mary Schapper

mary schapper

Mary, 65, grew up on a family farm in Nebraska. She cooked for the families of harvesters in the wheat and corn fields who worked together, sharing labor and farm equipment, to harvest each other's fields. From an early age, she gleaned corn from fields after the harvesters had finished to help the family make ends meet. And she de-tasseled corn in high school to earn spending money. more ...

Listen to Mary Schapper's Story

Julie Logan, Manon Lapointe-Pratt, & Dave Poulin

Maine gleaners with Rusten

These three helped glean a plum orchard in July. All were children on family farms in Maine. They told of waving lit cigars like torches to help keep the swarming mosquitoes at bay while the family weeded gardens in the evening, of horse manure "Kool-Aid" mixed up and spread on the ground before planting 150 foot rows of tomatoes, and of nothing gone to waste. more ...

Listen to Maine Childhood Stories

Marco Harding

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Marco, 16, is a student living in Santa Cruz. He has helped out with the Gleaning Stories Project, taking photographs of gleaners, helping with story sessions, and gleaning. Marco has participated in several service ministries with his church group. He says that gleaning refreshes him, like a cool swim. more ...

Listen to Marco Harding's Story

Claire Juster

claire juster

Claire, 74, works in a food pantry at Madonna del Saso Catholic Church, where they distribute a lot of gleaned produce. She grew up as the youngest child of dairy farmers on the Central Coast. She composts, much as her mother did. Claire worked briefly in the fields in the 1970s when her husband, a worker for Firestone, was on strike. more ...

Listen to Claire Juster's Story

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