February 12, 2020— The Association of Gleaning Organizations is proud to announce their selection of Stephanie Wooten as a Founding Member of their Board of Directors. Wooten has served as Glean Kentucky’s Executive Director since 2014. As the organization’s first full-time staff member, Wooten has gained years of experience in strategic growth and community-building. It was this experience that led to Wooten’s selection for national board service.
Glean Kentucky has gathered and redistributed over 1.8 million pounds of excess fresh produce since 2010 and was one of the first organizations in the country to employ this unique solution to food-insecurity and food waste. In the organization’s early years, Glean Kentucky had few opportunities to learn from others doing similar work. Co-founder Erica Horn recalls, “We knew of one other gleaning organization in the country, but their primary focus was on single crops on farms. What we knew, and acted on, was that growers and others had excess food and people were hungry. We wanted to build a bridge between those groups.”
As the gleaning movement took hold, Glean Kentucky reached out to peers across the country and participated in the First Annual International Gleaning Symposium in Salt Lake City in 2016. The Symposium, now in its 4th year, inspired the creation of the Association of Gleaning Organizations to build the capacity of organizations recovering fresh fruits and vegetables from farms, gardens, and backyards across North America. The Association will strive to create data-backed metrics for success, opportunities for networking among members, and a platform for sharing best-practices.
Wooten says, “Glean Kentucky has always been a forward-looking organization. I am honored to represent the work we do in Kentucky as we strive to grow the impact of gleaning across the country.” Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles has worked alongside Glean Kentucky for several years and is proud to see Kentucky represented on the national stage. “When I became Commissioner of Agriculture, we started the Kentucky Hunger Initiative to combat the unfortunate reality that 1 in 7 Kentuckians is food insecure,” Commissioner Quarles said. “As a result, I got to know the many leaders in this space and Stephanie Wooten stands out as an innovative, creative leader in reducing food waste across the Commonwealth. I am proud of the work my friend is doing at Glean Kentucky and that she is being recognized at the national level.”
For more information about Glean Kentucky’s work to address food-insecurity and food waste, visit www.gleanky.org. For more information about the Association of Gleaning Organizations, visit www.gleaners.us.