Page 35 - The Valley Table - Fall 2021
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                                 The CAC works closely with a handful of local partners
to increase their tenants’ chances of success. One such program, GrowNYC’s La Nueva Siembra, is a detailed planning course for new and beginning immigrant farmers. To date, the program has facilitated two Spanish-speaking farmers in getting their own operations launched at the CAC, including Marcela Huerta of Farmer Huerta.
Huerta comes from La Noria Hidalgo in the state
of Puebla, Mexico. She has 20 years of experience in agriculture; however, the language barrier has been a difficult issue she’s had to face. Despite obstacles, she says regarding her work, “I do it with love.”
The CAC’s community relations manager, Ani Ventocilla King is Spanish-speaking and has been a supportive resource for Huerta and her sister, Lonora, in running Farmer Huerta.
“I can say things freely, say what I like and don’t like. That’s really beneficial to me and my farm,” says Huerta. “I’m really grateful that the CAC listens to me and provides orientation. It’s really important to be able to have that access as a small farm, rather than doing things without knowing where to even start.”
Huerta and her sister grow a variety of vegetables, but they have also been known to produce stunning gladioli. Regardless of what Huerta is selling, she feels strongly welcomed by the local Latinx community.
“One of my favorite things is being able to get to the market and there’s already a line of people waiting, because I have products from home and there are people who specifically seek me out because it reminds them of where they come from,” says Huerta. “I’m really grateful for my community.”
One such product is papalo, an herb used in Mexican dishes as a garnish, seasoning, or in salads. Not only does Huerta love sharing her products to those familiar with Mexican culture, but she also gets enjoyment out of introducing newcomers to her heritage as well.
“I’m really excited that American people will stop by,
try something new from my stand and come back and try something else or get it again,” says Huerta. “That’s a really awesome experience to be able to bring people.” 
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