Monday, December 3, 2012

From Farmworker to Organic Entrepreneur

ALBA Family Farm Day
Latino immigrants fleeing from their homeland's violence or poverty to America, take up farm work for little reward and a dubious future.  But for those who take advantage of the Agriculture and land-Based Training Association (ALBA), a brighter future as an organic farmer or organic farm manager can open new doors to success.

ALBA provides educational and business opportunities for farm workers and aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops grown on two organic farms in Monterey County, California.  ALBA's mission, as stated on the website is:  To advance economic viability, social equity and ecological land management among limited-resource and aspiring farmers. We work to create opportunities for family farms while providing education and demonstration on conservation, habitat restoration, marketing and whole farm planning. 

Writes one of the successful ALBA trainees in a recent editorial :

I’m a third generation farmworker, and I now own my own farm. I know what it’s like to be exposed to pesticides in the field, and I know we cannot sustain our food system and environment with chemicals that are so toxic. After working in conventional farm fields for more than 10 years, I joined a training program through the Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association. For three years I learned how to fight diseases and pests organically, in ways that were not only effective, but also safe for my family, consumers and future generations.

For more than 15 years, I’ve built on this training and worked hard to create a successful produce business. Despite the financial and cultural obstacles of being a woman farmer, I achieved my dream of having my own farm, and producing food in a way that is safe for the earth, for the air, and for my children and grandchildren who keep me company in the fields.

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