Lani has been a huge asset to our gleaning program. Not only does she volunteer regularly in the fields, she is also a great advocate for us in the community. Genna Williams, our Gleaning and Community Outreach Coordinator in the Southern Region, is so grateful for all of her help and dedication to getting fresh food to our neighbors who need it!

Lani WhartonLani, let’s start with: where are you from?

I was born on the coast of Maine and grew up there and in the Mad River Valley of Vermont.  I’ve lived my life, so far, in the New England states with a few years in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin and Italy.

Where do you live now?

I live in Putney with my husband, Sam, who can often be seen helping me with Foodbank pickups and some gleans.  We recently renovated a house for our three cats who allow us to share it with them.

Please tell us more about yourself.

Sam and I are officially retired having closed our business of 16 years as manufacturer’s representatives for custom fenestration products.

My formal education was in Commercial Art, but I found that I didn’t thrive on a life full of deadlines so I turned my focus to family, numerous house renovations and to volunteer for The Maine Children’s Cancer Program, The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, 7 Rivers Habitat for Humanity and the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. As a volunteer at MCHPP, a friend and I started a program to salvage produce from local farmer’s markets for redistribution at the local Food Pantry.

My hobbies and interests include WWOOFing (volunteering on organic farms), Gleaning for the Vermont Foodbank, acting Volunteer Coordinator for the Putney Foodshelf, caring for animals, community gardening, cooking, reading, photography and spending time with my family and friends.

7-24 Variety from Deep Meadow Farm and Old Athens FarmTell us about your favorite food/meal/recipe.

My favorite recipes are those that I can make from my garden at the end of the day. Combinations of fresh, colorful vegetables combined with whole grains, local cheeses or meats are my idea of the perfect meal to share with others. I’ve never met a vegetable I didn’t like. OK, I don’t love collards or ok