Case study: Enriqueta Martinez

Farm and Food
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Enriqueta Martinez is the co-owner and co-operator of El Rancho El Milagro near Roca, Nebraska.

What we produce: beets, carrots, garlic, and onions.

Before the farm: “I lived with my parents. We were artisan hammock makers and also farmed. I learned about farming from my parents. While living in California, I also made wedding and quinceañera dresses. We left California and settled in Nebraska where my husband, Rogaciano, and I started farming.”

My farming motivation: “I like eating vegetables, but most store-bought vegetables are not organic. They are often full of pesticides, which are not easily removed after washing. That’s the reason why we decided to start farming our own.”

Helpful advice: "My advice is for all to consider farming—not only for you, but for children. They benefit from your example. The knowledge they gain from learning how to farm would be beneficial for the current generation and generations to come."

Large purchases: "We bought two big tillers and a small tiller, aside from other equipment necessary to keep our farm running. It was difficult for me at first because I had never used farming equipment; it took me about three years to feel comfortable using them. Now, my confidence level is better, and I have no problems using our tools to get the job done."

Land acquisition: “We joined Community Crops with one-fourth of an acre, after three years of training. Then, we were able to find the land we currently farm.”

Latino Beginning Farmer Project at the Center for Rural Affairs is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture – U.S. Department of Agriculture through the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

The Center for Rural Affairs offers one-on-one technical assistance to farmers in networking, education, and leadership, as well as learning circles and group trainings on business and finance, production, and marketing. These services are offered in both Spanish and English.

Staff contributing to these case studies include: Kylie Kai, Rhea Landholm, Kirstin Bailey, Vicky Espinoza, and Liz Daehnke.