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Markets farmers get growing

Adelante Agricultura program helps new growers gain experience


by: COURTESY PHOTO: ADELANTE MUJERES - Amaros produce stand has been a staple at the Forest Grove Farmers Market for years, offering fresh, sustainably-grown produce. Before 2005 Adelante Mujeres, the Forest Grove based nonprofit that provides holistic education and empowerment to Latina women and their families, focused mainly on educational programs. But when the organization was offered a chance to take over management of the Forest Grove Farmers Market and began farming at Pacific University’s B Street Permaculture Project, the meaning of holistic education started to evolve and they began a new journey into the agricultural world.

At that time, many participants of Adelante Mujeres came from agriculture backgrounds and expressed a need for entrepreneurial support. Staff decided to create “Adelante Agricultura,” a sustainable agriculture program striving for social justice and equity through ecological land management and economic vitality. Teaching and farming skills would be no problem, but participants would need a place to sell their produce.

“The Forest Grove Farmers Market and Adelante Agricultura sustainable farming program grew up as twins," said Adelante Agricultural Director Alejandro Tecum.

In fact, two of Adelante Agricultura’s first program graduates were also brothers: Nicolas and Sabino Amaro. Today, the brothers continue to sell their organically grown produce at the local farmers market and beyond.

Nicolas and his wife Norma Amaro of “N&N Amaro Produce” are located on the east side of Main Street during on market days. As their business began to grow, they sought more land, often a difficult task for new farmers with little capital. Last year, a relationship sparked between the Amaros and fellow vendor Chuck Straughan of Kestral Lane Farm.

This year, Straughan decided to retire from farmers market life but continues to help the Amaros with their crops, which they now grow in Gales Creek on Straughan’s land.

Sabino and his wife Reyna Rojas of “Amaro Produce” sell on the southwest corner of 21st Avenue and Main Street during the market. With business expanding, they also sell at the North Plains, Lents International and Cully farmers markets.

Market enthusiasts can help support other Adelante farmers at the La Esperanza Collective Booth, located in the middle of the Forest Grove market on the west side of Main Street. Beginning Adelante farmers sell their organically grown produce at the booth to gain experience in farm direct sales.

To learn more about the Forest Grove Farmers Market, Adelante Agricultura, or other Adelante Mujeres programs, visit adelantemujeres.org.



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