As an immigrant from the war-ravaged country of El Salvador and with no formal experience, Delia Noemi Jovel Duhon saw farming as an opportunity to access collective power, autonomy, resilience, and economic and food sovereignty. For Delia, farming is also a political tool to promote social and climate justice, community organizing, and human and economic development among BIPOC communities.
The Tierra Fertil Coop LLC is a worker-owner, one-acre organic cooperative farm led by five Hispanic community members in Henderson County on shared land. Delia participated in the Farm Beginnings program at Organic Growers School as a founding member of the cooperative, growing mainly vegetables, some fruits, and flowers. She subsequently founded a food bank, ABUNDANCIA.
Delia’s participation in the OGS Farm Beginnings program gave her access to knowledge, resources, and techniques to build a farm and start operations. It also gave the cooperative access to technical, financial, administrative, and marketing resources that helped with decision-making.
Having the support of an experienced tutor and connecting with other farmers in the region as part of a mutual aid network became an excellent help for the whole group. The instructors guided her to think about her farming vision. The instructors advised her to think about her farming vision. It was a radical change to go from having just an idea to developing it and promoting confidence in her abilities to succeed in farming.
While there have been barriers to the farm effort, such as lack of an irrigation system, access to a tractor, storage area, cold room, washing area, etc., the cooperative seeks to secure better facilities and equipment. All of their challenges and inexperience have led members to grow as individuals and together as a group.
When asked what has been one of the most triumphant moments during her growing experience, Delia said, “To see the whole group working, motivated, making decisions together, planning, and watching our products grow. It has also been gratifying to support from members of the community and organizations that have valued our initiative. I am convinced that any project will always have greater impact and scope when resources, capabilities, motivation, group commitments are diverse and collective.”
GivingTuesday launches November 30th! GivingTuesday has become a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
Organic Growers School is enthusiastically joining this movement with our Give to Grow Fund, we are raising money for scholarships starting now! To serve our mission in accessibility, we want to ensure that anyone interested in learning to farm and garden organically can access our programs, workshops and resources -regardless of ability to pay.
Author: Julie Douglas
Julie is the Marketing & Communications Associate. She is the owner and Clinical herbalist at Wildkrafted Kitchen, a holistic healthcare company in Asheville, NC. Julie is a medicinal herb grower, ethical wild crafter, educator and formulator of internal and external medicines. After graduating with an AA focusing on Photography and Ceramic art, Julie went on to pursue her passion for sustainable small scale agriculture in Washington state where she apprenticed on various organic farms. After discovering their affinity for medicinal herbs, they moved to Asheville to study Holistic Herbalism at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine. Julie’s main goals are to make alternative healthcare accessible to marginalized communities, decolonizing herbal medicine and being part of mutual aid networks which strengthen and empower the community.