News from the Farm | October 20, 2014

With 80 or more people working at Full Belly it is sometimes daunting to get to know everyone.  There are field crews, a packing-shed crew, CSA customer-support staff, irrigation crews, an animal-care crew and a marketing team, just to mention a few.  Occasionally, we take space in the Beet to feature one of our staff, thinking that our members may also like to get to know the people that pick their vegetables.  Previously, we have always interviewed someone who has worked at the farm for many years, usually year-round. This week, in contrast, we talked with Angel Martinez who has only worked at the farm for a short while.

Angel started working at Full Belly a few months ago, at the height of the summer busyness, and in that short time he has been assigned quite a variety of tasks – “a little bit of everything” as he put it: packing peaches; planting strawberries, onions, broccoli and cabbage; sorting nuts; working on the almond-sheller; pulling stakes out of the ground in old tomato fields; pulling up plastic row cover and drip lines from finished fields; and of course, picking vegetables like eggplants and chilies.

A few years ago, Angel’s Mom worked at Full Belly and stayed for almost three years. His Dad has been working here for a number of years as well.  As is often the case, family relations are instrumental in bringing people to the farm – Angel’s Mom is the sister of Francisca Jacobo who has worked at Full Belly for decades and who encouraged her sister’s family to come.  But Angel says that his life is back in Mexico.  He misses his family – his mother, brothers, cousins and grandparents – and he expects to go back soon to Obregoń where he grew up, in the state of Sonora in northwestern Mexico.

Even though agriculture is an important part of the Sonoran economy, Angel had never before worked on a farm when he arrived at Full Belly. It may come as a surprise to find out that his career is as a dancer and singer.  He is part of a several groups, for example one called Achai, a word from the Yaqui language, spoken by Native Americans from Sonora meaning “big brother”.  Angel has travelled internationally with Achai, performing folkloric dance, mariachi and many other traditional Latin American dances that emphasize local culture.

Angel’s dream is to start a school in Obregoń where he will teach people of all ages how to perform these dances as well as salsa, hip-hop and modern dance.  He has been dancing since he was very young, and hopes to start small and see his school grow.  While here in California, he plans to volunteer at the local High School, teaching dance to the kids.

We wish good luck to Angel in realizing his dream, and many thanks for being a part of Full Belly this summer!











This is the time of year when we pack a lot of winter squash.  This photo shows the washing machine.  For this particular order, the crew also has to put stickers on every single squash!