Total loan: $10,000
Fairbanks, AK, United States / Agriculture
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A loan helped to start a diversified small farm, growing vegetables and herbs in an ecologically friendly manner.
I am a first generation Cuban American. My mother and our family came to the U.S. in search of a place where we would be free to create the dreams we have for ourselves. By working full time and sometimes two jobs, I was able to put myself through college. There, I fell in love with ecological vegetable farming and a girl from Alaska. I began working for a local diversified vegetable farm in southern Washington; it's there that I began my journey to become a farmer. After working for the farm for two seasons, I was hired to manage an organic farm supply store in California. There I spent much of my time conversing with farmers who came in for information, supplies and advice. From there I, along with my now wife from Alaska, got hired to manage the farthest north certified organic farm in the U.S. We ran the day to day operations of a five acre diversified organic vegetable farm for two seasons. I began working for the first Co-op Market Grocery store in Alaska as the produce manager. There I fostered relationships with the local vegetable farmers and designed the systems to bring their vegetables to the market. I developed a efficient distribution system to get organic vegetables from the lower forty eight states to the end of the road in Alaska. I currently manage the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market; the largest farmer's market in the valley, where local cottage industries and farmers come together to sell directly to our community. Along this journey I have learned that one person can change their world, and I want to change the way people get their food in the far North. I know that small scale ecological agriculture is the answer to our food needs now and in the future. With the ability to take the knowledge I have gleaned, and the first hand experience I have in the field, I am primed to have a farm that provides healthy food to the people in my community while bringing positive change to the local food system.