I appreciate you.
"I" is not a word we use in these blog posts. The Gleaning Project isn't really an "I" kind of thing. Neither is SCCAP... I need to say right now though (this is Jay here), I appreciate you. And I'm going to miss you.
It's been my privilege and pleasure to coordinate The Gleaning Project in Franklin County since we began our first season here about halfway through 2014. We've had three and half seasons to demonstrate the incredible potential, the rapid scalability, and the power of members of a community coming together to build a local food system that works better for everyone.
You all have been so kind and generous and willing to try something new. So supportive, which is always so important when you're trying to start anything new. Thank you. The Gleaning Project would not exist in Franklin County, I really mean this, without:
- our local farmers who started picking up their phone when we called, and who are now thinking ahead about their on-farm food loss and how we can put it to the best use possible.
- our volunteers who shared so many hours of their time, their labor, their recipes, their homemade treats! their thought and creativity...
- our community partners who took on extra work to make sure our low-resourced neighbors have access to great quality fresh produce.
- our funders, most especially Summit Endowment and their staff who had a guiding hand in all our efforts, as well as individual donors and the many folks who have donated various materials to help us piece this project together!
- my friends and mentors who always help coach and guide and provide great feedback...
- my boss - SCCAP's CEO, Megan Shreve. We should all be so fortunate to work for such an incredible leader and role model as Megan.
- current and former TGP staff, Bridget Schell and Abby McElhiney, Hannah Grose and Renee Dodson. Thank you so much for putting up with me! It's been my privilege to work with you.
You all make The Gleaning Project. Thank you for the opportunity to work together. This is our home and our community and we can always do more together.
Abby McElhiney has been working side by side with me since the spring of last year. She's now the Franklin County Coordinator of The Gleaning Project of South Central PA! I am so excited to see where our community program grows under her direction. And I can't wait to help - as a friend, volunteer, and donor. I hope you all will too.
... That said, I'm going for a walk! Long distance backpacking is my other passion after food systems work. And now is a rare opportunity for me to light out on a long trip. I hope to successfully thru hike the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada this growing season. I plan to return to South Central PA this Fall for whatever may come next, hopefully work as important and powerful as The Gleaning Project. And hopefully, to see you all again soon. Until then...
All the best.
PS. Hit me up! If you're interested in my CDT travels, want to visit as the friends I know we've become, or continue to work together to make positive change in our region, you can find me online here on Facebook and here on LinkedIn...