WHAT'S GROWIN' ON
IN LAKE & MENDOCINO COUNTIES


Gardening Ties Us To Our Cultural Heritage, Entrevista en Inglés y Español

Throughout the month of November, we will be showing gratitude to people in our community whose work has what we like to call the “Pollinator Effect”. Just like pollinators are a small but mighty part of the life cycle in the garden, these people are part of a cycle that is much bigger than themselves. Their impact grows exponentially as it influences friends and family, shapes the minds of youth, creates resiliency, and much more.

Last week, we introduced you to Peggy Backup, an educator who is teaching our younger generations how to care for each other and their world through garden learning. This week, meet Luzmila and Nicolas.


“We grew up in a ranch, very poor and there we didn’t have anything. And here things have gone really well for us. For my kids to have been educated is a big advantage. I’ve had good luck with my kids. They are all educated, they all have good jobs, they’re all working, they’re all married. They are all doing really well. All of them.”

Since moving to the United States from Mexico in the 70’s, Luzmila and Nicolas have watched their six children grow and flourish, but the opportunity to grow their own food has always served as an important tie to where they came from. “I’ve been really lucky that I’ve followed almost the same customs from Mexico here because I’ve always grown my own vegetables, my own fruits,” says Nicolas. “We’ve always harvested most of what we use at home. We almost didn’t shop at the store.”

Each fruit and vegetable that Luzmila and Nicolas grow is nourished by their rich generational wisdom, which they brought with them from Mexico. Nicolas began working in the earth when he was only four years old, and his parents were gardeners too. “I know it well,” says Nicolas, “It’s been my work all my life.”

As they age, the ability to grow their own food without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers empowers Luzmila and Nicolas to take their health into their own hands. Luzmila says she enjoys growing her own food because “You eat everything organic. Healthy. And you see, when you get older, you don’t have defenses, and you get sick easily. But, trying to eat the most healthy, we stay a little healthier.” Nicolas adds, “This way you don’t have any doubts that it’s not organic, that it’s not clean. You can eat and enjoy.”

For Luzmila and Nicolas gardening is more than just growing fruits and vegetables. It’s a tie to their past, it’s a passion project, it gives them purpose, and it connects them to friends and family. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough community gardens in Mendocino County to support all of the people who want to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Luzmila and Nicolas have had to downsize their garden space to make room for growing demand, and now they are facing the closure of the Village Circle Community Garden due to development. “Right now, I just have a small garden plot,” says Nicolas, “but, something is something. And well, if there’s nothing here, we’ll go there. We’ll go back to Mexico.”

Nicolas and Luzmila are a precious resource to our community. Their work in the garden has the Pollinator Effect: by gardening alongside their community members, Luzmila and Nicolas share a wealth of gardening wisdom and cultural celebration, a gift that will keep growing for generations to come.

Community gardens give people like Luzmila and Nicolas space to continue doing what is most important to them. “The special thing is simply growing vegetables and fruit and eating. Appreciate it. Enjoy what is given.”

You can support community gardens this Giving Tuesday with a donation matched by Facebook, Sparetime Supply Distribution, and FoxFarm Soil & Fertilizer Company! Thanks to our local businesses, your gift will have triple the impact this year. In addition to being matched, your gift will keep on growing by supporting gardeners that go on to impact so many others in our communities.

Traducción:

Esta semana les presentamos a Nicolas Y Luzmila:

“Nosotros creíamos en un ranchito bien pobrecitos y ahí no teníamos nada. Y aquí nos fue muy bien porque de eso de que mis hijos hayan estudiado es mucha ventaja. Tuve muy buena suerte con mis hijos. Todos estudiaron, todos recibieron de buenos trabajos, todos están trabajando. Todos están ya casados. Están muy bien todos.”

Desde se ha movido a los Estados Unidos de México en los años 70, Luzmila y Nicolas ha mirado como han crecido y prosperado sus seis hijos, pero la oportunidad de cultivar su propia comida siempre ha servido como una atadura importante a su tierra madre. “Me ha tocado suerte que he seguido casi la misma costumbre de México aquí porque siempre he creado mi propia verdura, mi propia fruta,” dice Nicolas. “Entonces siempre hemos cosechado la mayor parte de lo que usamos en la casa. Casi no compramos en la tienda.”

Cada fruta y verdura que cultiva Luzmila and Nicolas es informado por su rica sabiduría intergeneracional, que la han traído desde México. Nicolas trabajaba en la tierra desde que solo tenía cuatro años, y sus padres eran agricultores también. “Es que yo conozco todo lo que es de jardín y lo conozco bien,” dice Nicolas, “Eso ha sido mi trabajo toda mi vida.”

A medida que envejecen, la habilidad de crecer tu propia comida sin pesticidas y fertilizantes sintéticas empodera a Luzmila y Nicolas a tomar su salud en sus propias manos. Luzmila dice que ella disfruta cultivar su propia comida porque, “Comes tu orgánico todo. Sano. Y te vi, cuando uno está mayor, no tiene defensas y fácilmente se enfermó uno. Pero tratar lo de comer lo mejor saludable pues nos creamos un poquito más sanos." Nicolas añade, “Así no tienes dudas de que no esté orgánico, de que no esté limpio. Se lo comes al gusto.”

Luzmila y Nicolas han tenido de reducir el tamaño de su jardín para hacer espacio para la creciente demanda por jardines y ahora se enfrentan con el cierre del “Village Circle Community Garden” debido al desarrollo. “No más ahorita estoy con poquito jardín,” dice Nicolas, “pero algo es algo. Pues si ya no hay aquí pues nos vamos para allá. Nos vamos para México.”

Jardines comunitarios da gente como Luzmila y Nicolas el espacio de seguir haciendo lo que es más importante para ellos. “Lo único especial es no más crecer la verdura y fruta y comer. Aprovecharla. Disfrutar lo que se da.”

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