IWF visits Yakima

This Summer IWF staff, led by Director Luis  Moscoso, visited the Yakima Valley.  Our primary purpose was to meet with the President of Heritage University, Dr. John Bassett, and a group of staff and students in order to build our relationship and forge a vision for our partnership.   We also took the time to meet with beginning and established Latino farmers in the Valley and several community groups, including Sunnyside Promise, an innovative gang prevention program in Sunnyside.

One of the high points of our trip was a visit with Adolfo Alvarez at one of his Cherry Orchards near Prosser.  Adolfo took his experience and relationships from years of working as a farm manager and built his own farming business.  He has over 20 years of successfully farming and is considered an important mentor for beginning Latino farmers, sharing his knowledge through outreach programs by the FSA and RMA.  He is committed to organic farming and is currently involved in research on using predators for pest control in his orchards.

Adolfo gave us insight into the reality of farming, the small margins in yield and other aspects of production and marketing that can make or break a farming business.  He also told us clearly that many Latinos across the state and the country, in counties like Yakima, now are encountering the opportunities that he had 20 years ago to access land and begin farming.  He told us that the key to their success will be the array of personal and business relationships that they have and are able to form in the process of starting their business.  In the end, Adolfo has no doubt that Latinos will be a majority of the farmers in Yakima and beyond.