Mission & Vision

Mission

Promoting healthy eating and economic justice in the Pajaro Valley by supplying sustainably farmed, affordable produce for traditionally excluded people of limited income, grown by former farmworkers newly trained in organic practices.

Vision

We envision a healthy, localized food system based on food sovereignty, work with dignity, and stewardship of the environment.

Esperanza Community Farms is a system-changing, sustainable community agriculture project focused entirely and directly on increasing food security and good health among low-income families from under-resourced communities in the Pajaro Valley. We cultivate fresh, pesticide-free, culturally preferred vegetables and fruit varieties, then deliver bi-weekly boxes of produce directly to members’ homes via a subsidized Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Primary access options for members are use of SNAP benefits OR direct payment.

Meet our team

Guillermo Lazaro

Guillermo Lazaro

Lead Farmer

Soy originario de Oaxaca México y papá de dos hijos adolescentes. Desde pequeño fui criado en la agricultura y quizás por eso se me hizo más fácil incorporarme a la agricultura aquí en la Costa Central. Pero después de 12 años como campesino, quise ser crecedor y trabajar por mi propia cuenta. Me llamo mucho la atención poder crecer un producto orgánico y más natural. Esto también cambió mi manera de pensar. En 2018 terminé un curso de prácticas orgánicas agrícolas y recibí mi certificado de parte de CCOF. ALBA me abrió la puerta para poder certificarme y me dio las enseñanzas de las prácticas orgánicas.
Tengo 20 años viviendo en el área de Monterey. Me gusta visitar el mar, hacer ejercicio, y pasar tiempo con mis hijos y mi familia.

Abel Gonzalez

Abel Gonzalez

Orchard Manager
Phineas Ellis

Phineas Ellis

Orchard Director

I am an avid horticulturist whose main focus is the growing of perennial fruits, vegetables, and flowers. My experience and education comes from attending UCSC, over 10 years of homesteading, and international work in Africa and Ecuador as a permaculture and organic farming educator. I speak both Spanish and English and contribute to Esperanza's mission through my dedication to teamwork and passion for local self reliance.

Ana Rasmussen

Ana Rasmussen

Co-Director

For more than 30 years I have worked toward social justice and increased equity in Santa Cruz County—in health care, public education, food justice, and land access. I am grateful for the daily opportunities to learn and grow in relationship with people from backgrounds, traditions, strengths, and lived-experience different than my own. I am the mother of two 30-something sons who live locally, and companion to one affectionate, beloved dog.

Mireya Gomez-Contreras

Mireya Gomez-Contreras

Co-Director

I am raising two children and am proud to have 3 sisters. After living in Watsonville for almost 30 years I’ve enjoyed sharing the passion & pride of the Latino community as well as the work-ethic of a culturally diverse community. As a child I worked with my farmworker parents in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast in California. I think I inherited my mom’s “green thumb!” I studied at UCSC and received my BA in Sociology. Most recently I found my professional niche as a Language and Cultural Consultant after 20+ years of working in the local non-profit sector. I am grateful that Esperanza Community Farms reflects my values and interests.

Lorenia Parada-Ampudia

Lorenia Parada-Ampudia

Community Outreach Coordinator

I was born in Sonora Mexico and I am a psychologist trained at the UNAM. I work as a life coach and mentor with a focus on cultivating healthy embodied relationships and leadership based on self-awareness, connection, and social justice.

Patrick Williams

Patrick Williams

Farm Advisor

Student of Alan Chadwick
Studied Horticulture at Cal Poly
Studied Bio-dyamic Agricultrue at Emerson
Trainer for Peace Corps in Organic Agriculture
Trainer for U.S.A.I.D in Bio-Intensive systems in Russia and Central Asia
Trainer for Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz
Developing a small farm and training Program in Organic Agriculture in Colombia

Advisory Board

Candy Moreira

Candy Moreira

Advisory Board Member

Candy Moreira was born and raised in Watsonville. She is dedicated to improving the health of people in her community and passionate about increasing access to fresh, healthy produce. She recently completed her RN degree and works at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

Kevin Heuer

Kevin Heuer

Advisory Board Member

Kevin Heuer is the Director of Engagement & Impact at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was Chief Operations Officer of Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County. He holds a Masters of Nonprofit Administration. He is father to three young children.

Maria Gonzalez

Advisory Board Member

Maria Gonzalez has served as the Kitchen Manager at Loaves and Fishes since 2003. Cooking is her love and helping those less fortunate is her passion. Watsonville has been her home for more than twenty years. She is mother to three beautiful girls.

Olga Medrano

Olga Medrano

Advisory Board Member

Olga Medrano came to Watsonville as an immigrant at the age of 35. She has worked in early childhood education for many years. Olga has been an Esperanza Community Farms CSA member from the beginning. She is mother to three adult children, grandmother to one.

Ramiro Medrano

Ramiro Medrano

Advisory Board Member

Ramiro Medrano was born and raised in Watsonville. He is an intervention counselor at Pajaro Valley High School and has worked for over 15 years with and for the immigrant community. He is father to two curious girls.