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

Mireya Gomez-Contreras

Mireya Gomez-Contreras

Co-leader

I am a mother of two curious and fun children and I have three sisters. I’ve lived in Watsonville, California for almost 30 years and my favorite thing about living here is the passion & pride of the predominantly Latino community as well as the work ethic of a culturally diverse small rural city. As a little girl I grew up working alongside my farm laborer parents in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast in California. I think I inherited my mom’s green thumb because I landed very naturally in the agriculture sector and I love everything about it. I studied at UC Santa Cruz and received my BA in Sociology with a minor in education. After 27 years of working in the regional nonprofit sector I found my professional niche as a Language and Cultural Consultant. At Esperanza Community Farms I am able to practice my values of interdependence, dignity and joy for all. Most of all I enjoy the farm’s focus on family and the invitation to connect more deeply with people and the earth. At Esperanza I’m able to combine my personal interests, professional goals and my vision for a healthy community.

Guillermo Lazaro

Guillermo Lazaro

Co-leader

I am originally from Oaxaca, Mexico and a father of two teenagers. Since I was little I was raised in a farming environment. That may be the reason it was natural for me to enter the agriculture sector when I came to the Central Coast region in California. After 12 years as a farm laborer I became curious about becoming a grower and wondered about the possibility of working for myself. I was drawn to the opportunity to grow organic and natural produce. As I learned more about organic farming it changed my way of thinking. In 2018 I entered an intensive 4-year organic farming training program and I received my Certified Organic Farmer certificate. The training program, Agriculture and Land-based Training Association (ALBA) opened the door for me to obtain this certificate and taught me about organic practices. I’ve lived in the Salinas Valley, also referred to as the Salad Bowl of the country, for 21 years. When I’m not farming I enjoy going to the beach, exercising and spending time with my kids.

Hermelinda Vasquez

Hermelinda Vasquez

Member Engagement Specialist

Hermelinda's interested in deepening relationships with member families, so that children learn about the natural environment and how to grow food. She has three grown children and four grandchildren. During her free time she paints and likes to exercise.

Abel Gonzalez

Abel Gonzalez

Orchard Manager
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.

Ana Rasmussen

Ana Rasmussen

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER

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

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.

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.

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.

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.