What a journey my first few weeks have been with Glean Kentucky!  I’ve learned much about food insecurity, farmers, and volunteers.  I’m grateful to be part of such an amazing community.  Had anyone told me a year ago I would be the new South Central Kentucky Coordinator for a non profit organization working hard to solve both food waste and food insecurity, I wouldn’t have believed it.  But, now that I’m here, the fit is more perfect than I could have imagined then.

My dad was the person in my life who taught me the most about people.  I watched him talk to strangers standing in line.  I watched him sit in the grass and stare at the clouds with a neighbor’s child who was born with Down’s Syndrome.  But mostly, I remember him telling me that the only judgement of another human I was to make was about how they treated me. 

This lesson stuck with me when, in middle school, I taught myself the sign language alphabet.  This allowed me to communicate with a deaf friend.  And, in high school, I volunteered for our local Special Olympics.  For two years, I made their flag and attended the Special Olympics sporting events at my school.  When I started my professional career and had business clothing to donate, I worked for weeks to find a source that would give the clothing directly to women in need.  I found a women’s shelter and donated clothing, toiletries, kid’s toys, and more for years.  I’ve seen the world change dramatically in the 5+ decades I’ve walked this planet but my belief about what is most important has not changed.  Community is everything. 

For 25 years, I’ve lived and worked in the natural health industry.  I’ve studied herbalism, body work, energy work, nutrition, supplements, and the list goes on.  The more I learned about our food supply, the better I understood the importance of not only clean food but local food.  This began a passion for local food first, clean/small farm food second, and then certified organic for the rest.  It changes the way you view your food and how you eat when you shake hands with the farmer who grew it.

I’m also a bit of a “rabid” recycler.  My family knows that I watch everything going out in the trash. I will not hesitate to pull things out and make them wash it to recycle it.  I can safely say, this is their least favorite of my passions!

The opportunity to work with Glean Kentucky came on very quickly and was completely unexpected!  I saw an email about the job opening, interviewed, and was offered the job all in one week.  I wasn’t actively looking for work but when I saw this opening, I knew it was a good fit.  For me to be able to connect my passion for people and human equity with waste reduction and respect for local farmers is a dream come true.

It will take me a little while to get fully up to speed but I am all in.  My brain is already flooded with ideas and I hope a few of them can make a difference in the lives of other people.  I’m deeply grateful and bubbling with excitement to take on the challenge of growing this amazing platform for South Central Kentucky.