Carlos Gonzalez Torres
Blackberry and Raspberry Farmer
I came to the U.S. in 1999. I decided to come because in Mexico working in the fields does not generate enough money to live. In Mexico, you are poor. I came here because I could have a better future. But when I came here, I worked in the fields, because we did not have education and I was still poor. I worked for 15 years for large commercial growers before joining the ALBA program. ( ALBA trains low income field laborers to purse their dream of farm ownership).
I found out about it from a mechanic friend. One day my car broke down and we had a talk. I asked him, “What do you do in order to have your own ranch”? He told me that he knew a school where if they noticed my interest, they could rent me the land. So, I was interested, and I asked him the address and that is how I came
I have been with ALBA for six years and I have 5 ½ acres. Alba has helped me a lot because they taught me everything. I already knew how to harvest, but I did not know anything about sales and fertilization. I did not know anything about the documents that I needed for my own farm and they supported me with that. Everything they taught me was very helpful.
I like to grow organic because it does not contain chemicals. I sometimes bring my children. My son is 10 and my daughter is 12 so they can help me because there is no danger of pesticides. and it is also more nutritious and healthier for consumers.
I have a cultivation plan with the buyers. So, they tell us what to grow so that there is not an abundance of product. Right now, I have tomatoes, green beans, kale, broccoli, cabbage and I’m also going to plant celery.
I feel I contribute to the U.S. by paying all my taxes and respect the laws. What I love is that I also generate some jobs. I also feel I produce healthy vegetables for people to enjoy. My goal is not to have a lot but to have ten acres of my own. My daughter wants to study business so she can help me.
I would like the U.S. to make some fair changes in the way they treat farmworkers. All of us here in the field are hard workers. There are also people who do not behave well like everywhere else. But we are good people. I’m sincere, some of us are undocumented, but we do things in the right way. We know that it is not our country but we follow the rules so it would be fair to be legalized.