Gleaning Stories, Gleaning Change

Radio Stories of Gleaners

These are radio versions of stories we've collected from gleaners.

Series 1: Gleaning Childhood Memories

Our first set of radio stories highlights the childhood memories that gleaning provoked in some gleaners. Each of these gleaners grew up in a different part of the country: California, Texas, Nebraska, or Maine. Each found a different kind of echo of their childhood experience in fields or orchards or gardens when they came gleaning.

Nick Pavlina: "Valley of Heart's Delight"

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 a roadside stand 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 ...

The music under much of Nick's piece is Nickel Creek's "Pastures New".

Listen to Nick Pavlina's Radio Story

Lupe Rivas: "Mis Muñecas de Pepino"

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. The transition from speaking Spanish at home to English-only schoolrooms brought a feeling of shame that she later fought to keep other children from having to experience. more ...

Listen to Lupe Rivas's Radio Story

Julie Logan and Manon Lapointe-Pratt: "Cigar Torches & Horse Manure Kool-Aid"

Julie and Manon talk with Rusten

Julie and Manon both grew up in Maine (Julie in Cumberland, Manon in Greene, both just north of Portland) on family farms. Huge gardens were important for both families' food, sometimes supplemented in Julie's family's case by "welfare food". They canned, they stored, and they made everything they grew count. They waved cigar torches to ward off mosquitoes and stirred up horse manure "kool-aid" for the gardens. more ...

Listen to Julie and Manon's Radio Story

Mary Schapper: "Runaway Car in the Cornfields"

mary schapper

Mary Schapper, a nurse, grew up on a family farm in Nebraska. She cooked for families who harvested each other's wheat and corn fields, sharing labor and farm equipment. From an early age, she gleaned corn from fields after the harvesters had finished to help the family make ends meet. Left alone in the fields with the family car, the kids dumped 5-gallon buckets of corn into the car and then inched it forward for the next bucketfuls. Well, it usually inched .... more ...

Listen to the story as it aired in a shorter form on KAZU-FM.

Listen to Mary Schapper's Radio Story

Audio Installations for the Steinbeck Center

These are not radio pieces. They are the audio installations from our "The Gleaners: A Harvest of Stories" event at the Steinbeck Center. They try to locate our project and point to some themes in the stories ... taking a step back from the stories themselves.

Donna Haraway: "On Connecting with the Senses"

Donna Haraway photo

Donna, one of the Gleaning Stories Project members, is a gleaner. She is also a cultural historian at UCSC who has studied the histories of our connections with our food and the plants and animals we live with. She shares some of the connections she finds between the stories of different gleaners and reflects on the connections the gleaners themselves make between gleaning and their lives, their food, and each other. more ...

The music under Donna's voice is "Poison Love" and "Day Tripper" performed by Gene Wooten.

Listen to Donna's Installation

Susan Harding: "On the Changing Meanings of Gleaning"

Susan Harding photo

Susan, one of the Gleaning Stories Project members and a gleaner, finds some of the concepts of her anthropological work — like "secular sabbath", "ritual practice", "boundary crossings", and "pilgrimages", for example — useful in thinking about the practice of gleaning, about gleaners' stories, and about the Gleaning Stories project. more ...

In this installation, she reflects on the changing meanings of gleaning and on how the Gleaning Stories project affects meaning and community.

The music under Susan's voice is "Weeping Mandolin Waltz" performed by Sam Bush and David Grisman.

Listen to Susan's Installation

Audio Collage: "Gleaners' Voices"

This audio collage tries to give the range of voices, concerns, and stories of the gleaners. Of course, any sample is only that. But here you'll hear bits of what people feel in the fields, what the fields make them think of, and what they want gleaning to mean and be for their communities. See ... or hear ... what you think.

The music under this audio collage is "My Lord, What a Morning" and "We Shall Overcome" performed by Charlie Haden and Hank Jones.

Listen to Gleaners' Voices

Video Soundtracks for the Steinbeck Center

These are not radio pieces. They are the soundtracks of 3 of the 5 video installations at our "The Gleaners: A Harvest of Stories" event at the Steinbeck Center. We've posted them here because they seem to work as audio collages without the photos of gleaning.

Audio Soundtrack: "Abundance, Waste, and Hunger"

The theme of waste and avoiding it ... in the field and elsewhere ... is one that occurs in many gleaners' stories. For some whose parents grew up during the depression or in the post-WWII years of scarcity, it's a lifelong habit. But younger folks, too, share the value. Avoiding waste, recycling, re-purposing. All are echoed through the stories we've collected. More on food waste ...

The music under this audio collage is "Intimo" performed by Sam Rush and David Grisman.

In the audiovisual installation, this soundtrack plays over a photo portrait of the red lettuce glean where most of these voices were recorded. We gleaned several thousand pounds of lettuce and left many more thousand pounds behind.

Watch the "Abundance, Waste, and Hunger" video.

Listen to Hunger and Waste

Audio Soundtrack: "Everyone Has a Story"

This is the soundtrack for an 11-minute slideshow that takes folks into the fields to glean and to collect gleaners' stories. Imagine the opening sequence in a field of three kinds of organic lettuce. Workers load Ag Against Hunger's flatbed truck and pick the lettuces. Then there's a quick sequence of gleaners and the variety of crops we glean. And finally it's on to photos of the glean on August 8th and of the folks whose voices you'll hear recorded at that glean. In the slideshow, I match the audio with the photos. Here, you'll just have to imagine them.

The music under this soundtrack is four pieces by Michael Hedges: "Hot Type", "Aerial Boundaries", "Magic Farmer", and "Bensusan".

Watch the "Everyone Has a Story" video.

Listen to Everyone Has a Story

Audio Soundtrack: "Welcome to 'The Gleaners: A Harvest of Stories'"

This is the soundtrack for a six and a half minute slideshow introducing gleaning and the Gleaning Stories project team. The slide show with this soundtrack will play on the big screen at the Agriculture Museum near the entrance to our event. After a brief history of gleaning (showing Millet's "The Gleaners"), a sketch of local hunger, and a description of organized gleaning with Ag Against Hunger, each Gleaning Stories project member gives a brief sense of what intrigues them about gleaning or the story project.

Watch the "Welcome to The Gleaners" video.

Listen to Welcome

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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 (or if you cannot hear the audio). Thanks.