Nov 9 - Dec 31, 2017

Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association

Mission

ALBA creates economic opportunity for limited-resource and aspiring organic farmers through land-based education in the heart of the Salinas Valley.

The Big Idea

GOAL will create a gathering space on the ALBA farm to host farmers, students, visitors and the whole community to observe and learn about organic food, farming and environmental preservation.

Located in the Salinas Valley, ALBA is a champion for the economic, environmental and individual health of the community. ALBA has provided intensive education to nearly 400 aspiring, low-income farmers and has helped launch over 150 organic family farms.

Nestled between the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountains and surrounding by produce fields, ALBA is a wonderful place to visit. However, we lack a suitable outdoor space to host groups of farmers, students and other visitors. The courtyard in front of our training center is the perfect spot but it remains empty and rarely used.

Here, we envision a gathering place to welcome visitors and host events to share the facility with the entire community. GOAL would landscape the 100′ x 80′ space, introducing drought-resistant native plants and trees, construct a pergola for shade as well as stone walkways and abundant outdoor seating.

Doing so would make it a welcoming spot to hold farmer workshops, school field trips, community events and receive groups from across the county, nation and world (e.g. a group from Vietnam visited in June!) GOAL will allow us to open doors to the entire community to learn about organic agriculture.

As a child, Maria Ana grew beans, corn, and squash in Altamirano, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Later she came to California and worked at big commercial farms where she was exposed to pesticides and sometimes wasn’t paid. “You work and you try to understand…but even when I wanted to know more, I did not know where to start.”

Maria heard about ALBA from a parent at her son’s school. “When I finally came to ALBA I learned so much! How to eat differently, how to plant without pesticides, how to harvest, pack boxes, and move product through the system.” Even though she had worked for over two decades picking strawberries, Maria finally felt like she was learning and started developing her own ideas and taking action. Taking her lead, her kids are studying toward degrees in Agricultural business, wanting to help their mom’s farm. With her typical smile, Maria says: “I am so proud.”

— Maria Ana Reyes, Salinas