I am trying to shift my relationship to the land from one of exploitation to one of healing.

I am currently in the process of applying to a farm incubator program to start my own farm during the 2021 season. 

I have farmed for one season (March through October 2020), as part of a farm apprenticeship for an intensive mixed vegetable organic farm.

But as a teen I spent summers working as a picker on berry farms (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.). 

I am a Zapoteco from what is now the State of Oaxaca, Mexico.

My family has stewarded the land since time immemorial, but as a result of colonialism, neoliberalism, and imperialism my family was forced to leave our homeland and migrate to the United States.

Here in the U.S. our only connection to the land has mostly been as exploited Indigenous migrant workers.

I am trying to shift my relationship to the land from one of exploitation to one of healing. I am reclaiming my relationship with agriculture.

 I completed a farm apprenticeship program that would give me the knowledge and skills to go out and start my own farm.

I don’t have access to land or family wealth, so I couldn’t just go out and start a farm and learn as I went.

The only real option I had was to complete an apprenticeship program.

My biggest issue (ON MY PAST FARM) was that both of my supervisors were white men while the farm crew was composed of mostly women of color.

That type of power dynamic will always inherently result in violence towards the non-white/non-male folks.

Whenever we tried to voice our concerns to reduce harm, we were gaslit and told that our demands were not realistic.

It was especially violent when they would make comments about wanting us to work faster or do things their way.

There was lots of emotional labor on the worker end to continually educate our supervisors on how their behaviors/actions were problematic and violent.

They would say that they would try and do better, but at the end of the day they did not. 

In the context of small scale organic farming, I want to see more Black Indigenous People of Color farming. I would love to see folks being more intentional about building community and supporting one another. I would love to see white supervisors attend workshops on anti-racism/sexism and hold themselves more accountable.

I would love to decenter productivity as a core aspect of farming.

A big aspect for me is changing the work culture around farming. Lots of farmers I know like to emphasize how they work 70-80 hours (or more sometimes) a week. I think doing that perpetuates unhealthy and unsustainable conditions that are damaging in the long run. 

I look forward to continuing the work of dismantling farms systems that were built on violence and exploitation.

We will be free.