To create economic opportunity for aspiring, limited-resource farmers through organic agriculture education.
Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) provides education and farm incubation to around 100 limited-resource farmers each year, most of whom are Mexican immigrants who started out as farmworkers. Their five-year Farmer Education and Enterprise Development (FEED) program provides subsidized access to land, equipment and bilingual assistance in production and business. Participants develop the skills to pursue the dream of independent farm ownership or to advance their careers in organic agriculture. A recent assessment of their 45-year old irrigation well and pump indicates that it is prone to malfunction, and so to ensure the sustainability of the program, ALBA needs a new well and pump, a project that comes with a price tag in the range of $400,000.
I’m from Hidalgo, a village in Mexico, and came to the U.S. more than a decade ago. When I was working as a strawberry picker for one of ALBA’s graduate farms in Watsonville, I told him that I wanted to have my own farm and he recommended ALBA. I now farm 3.5 acres at ALBA and want more! We may not make a lot of money, but it’s more than we made as farmworkers, and it’s the life we want.
- Cecilia Rojas