To create opportunity for limited-resource farmers through land-based training in organic farm management. ALBA recognizes and invests in the talent of field laborers, providing them intensive education and on farm training over 5 years to help them navigate the leap from farmworker to farm owner. During this time, they gain access to land, equipment and the expertise of a team of experts to help them pursue the dream of farm ownership. ALBA has helped participants launch over 200 farms, of which 100 went on to farm independently. Hundreds more returned to employment, using newly developed skills in the fast-growing organic farming sector.
The Big Idea
ALBA invests in the next generation of farmers, those who want to navigate the leap from farmworker to farm owner and use organic farming practices for a healthier planet. ALBA participants benefit from intensive training and a network of experts in their gradual access to land and equipment over the program’s five years. This nonprofit’s Big Idea has helped its program participants launch more than 200 farms and trained others on new and desirable skills within the fast-growing organic food sector.
I came to the U.S. when I was 17. My whole life I’ve worked in the fields. In my old job my only responsibility was to harvest. Now with my own farm I have to think about planting, fertilizing, soil management, harvesting, packing and marketing. It’s a big difference.
But I love working. I’ve really enjoyed learning about the process. The work doesn’t feel hard because I enjoy it. There are days when you have to work sunrise to sunset.
I am very proud of the products I sell. I harvest for other people but also for myself. I do this because it is healthier. It has better flavor. It gives me immense pride to be able to consume my own harvest instead of getting it from the store.
If you enjoy what you do, you do it with pleasure. You put more effort into it. I haven’t reached the level of success I want to be. But I’m very prod of what I’ve achieved so far.
- Roberto Gaytan