Gleaning Stories, Gleaning Change

Voices of Gleaning: August 29

Voices from the August 29th Glean


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The day threatened to be hot and humid, with a whiff of smoke in the air from the fires to the south. The field was one of Ocean Mist's near Castroville, just a short drive from the Giant Artichoke where we all met. Plenty of iceberg lettuce left in the field, so with 50 or so gleaners working together, we made short work of filling the 9 big cardboard bins on the flatbed truck: an hour and a half to cut, clean, carry, and load over 8000 pounds of lettuce. With two microphones, we collected some fun stories, including that of one of the gleaners running from bull oxen in a sweet potato field in S. Korea.

Two of our project members from Seattle were down helping out: Rusten's sister Suze and her friend/intern Kenya. They gleaned awhile, then grabbed a microphone and headed out to collect stories, too. We've tried to post most of the stories. Some are on this page, and some in Part 2.

[Once the audio is playing, click and drag across the volume bars to change volume. Initial volume set to 80%.]

Monterey Chapter of National Charity League (NCL)

Three young women involved for the past 5 years with their mothers in the National Charity League talked with Suze and Kenya. Cassie Bishop, Claire Margolis, and Rachael Cohen talked about avoiding waste, helping the homeless, bonding with their mothers and each other, and about learning that "Carmel is not the world." They've been "working for a common cause" with NCL since 7th grade. Gleaning is one of those "fun and fulfilling" activities they enjoy most.

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Nan Kyung Kim

Nan Kyung (Nana) Kim works for the Monterey County Health Department. When her husband, Roy Stahlhut came to the August 8 glean with other workers from Driscoll's Strawberries, she couldn't make it ... so she came today. She talked with Rusten about her parents' rice and vegetable fields in S. Korea, where she grew up. Rusten thought he heard Nana say she'd helped her parents with "snakes" in their fields and asked for details. He'd misheard, but his question sparked a story about an encounter with oxen bulls in the sweet potato fields.

The pattern Kim describes in S. Korea — parents wanting a "better life" for their children, the children moving away, and the land first being leased and finally sold — sounds much like the pattern other gleaners have described in their families that was part of the demise of family farms in the Midwest. But, she says, there may be the start of a "back to the farm" movement among younger folks in S. Korea today.

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Nan Kyung Kim

One legacy from her childhood, the squatting posture so familiar to her, makes gleaning easier, she says, because she can avoid all the bending over and standing up she sees among other gleaners.

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"The Resistance"

Suze and Kenya talked with members of "The Resistance", the college group from Calvary Chapel in Santa Cruz. They talked about "living out our faith," empathy, and community service.

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They all said they'd be coming gleaning again and that they'd take the experience back to their weekly Bible study group. Rusten asked Justis Earle, Carrie Wheeler, Missie and Christine Passalaig, and Allie Williams how they'd encourage other folks to join them.

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Note: For more stories from this glean, see Part 2.

Note: We are currently using Flash to present the audio excerpts of the stories of gleaners on the website. Most computers already have Flash installed. If you don't, you will need to install the free Adobe Flash Player. If you have any trouble using the audio buttons on this webpage, please let us know.

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