Moving from farmworker to farm owner has long been a challenge for Latinx farmers. But with support, more are making the leap, increasing the number of diverse, small-scale operations.
It wasn’t until 2009, when Javier Zamora was in his 40s and living in California, that he started to consider farming as a career. After moving to the U.S. from Mexico in 1985 and working in the restaurant industry in Southern California, Zamora attended Cabrillo Community College in Santa Cruz, where he studied agriculture, reconnected with his farming roots—and realized he had a passion for growing organic food.
At first, Zamora worked for others, but the pay was low, and he had a family. “I needed to be financially stable, so making $12 an hour was not going to cut it,” he recalls. In 2012, he struck out on his own.
In just a few years, Zamora made a name for himself by establishing a business, JSM Organics, and growing it from one-and-a-half acres to more than 100.