News From the Farm | March 16, 2015

Full Belly Farm is blessed to have some wonderful folks working here every day, and this week we want to introduce one of them to our CSA members, Inigo Encarnación, who has been working here since 2011. 

Inigo was born in the state of Guerrero, in southern Mexico, in a small village called Huehuetonoc.  That’s an Amuzgo Indian word signifying the tambor, a musical instrument. Inigo has three older sisters, two of whom are now teachers in Mexico. His father grew corn, beans and squash for the family, and had several cows.  Inigo helped out in the fields and enjoyed milking the cows with his father, who he called Jefe.

Inigo went to high school, but didn’t finish the third, last year.  Instead, when he was 16, he travelled to the U.S. with his uncle and landed in Phoenix where he started to work in construction, building houses. He has been in the U.S. ever since.

When the economy went into a recession, in 2008, there was less work in construction, but Inigo was able to continue to work, and started installing tiles in bathrooms and kitchens. Always looking for something new, Inigo left Phoenix and ended up going to Idaho where he started painting houses, something that many families in Idaho have to do every couple of years, because of the harsh climate.  Inigo really liked painting houses. The family would leave in the morning, the painting crew would arrive and do their work, and when the family returned, they were always very happy to see their house looking like new.

After two years in Idaho, a friend told Inigo to come to California, so he made his way to Full Belly Farm. He had not worked before on any vegetable-growing farms besides his family’s subsistence farm, but he likes the work, including picking the vegetables. He worked on the irrigation crew for a few months, then moved into tractor driving. Since arriving here, he has tried his hand at a lot of different projects.

Inigo’s skills learned during his time on construction sites in Phoenix and Idaho have been put to good use here at Full Belly Farm where he has been working for the past several years at our event center job site, a project that will be finished soon. The event center is a custom building, with many opportunities for Inigo to learn more about working with tile and wood. The big commercial kitchen will be used to cook meals for events that will take place at the farm, as well as to make value added food products.

When asked about the veggies grown at Full Belly, Inigo says that he is not a great cook, but wants to learn more. He especially likes the green beans grown here, but has tasted many vegetables that had not been part of his diet in Mexico – chard, collards and artichokes for example. There were lots of big mango trees in his father’s fields in Huehuetonoc, in fact one really big one right in front of his house. Too bad that we can’t grow mangos at Full Belly!




Inigo (center) with Amon (left) and Edwin on the balcony of the Event Center that they are building.