Farming in the Desert

By: Anahi Mena-Hernandez, La Semilla Food Center Service Member

I once believed that the biggest challenge about farming in the Chihuahuan desert had more to do with the difficulty of growing food in such an extreme climate. My greatest trial of working in this part of the desert has not been the climate nor the insects, but it had been coming to the realization that most people take for granted the fact that food in some way or another will make it’s way to their table. 

Most people in the Paso Del Norte region think that living in the desert is only temporary, they think that when they “grow up” they will go to college and will buy a house and a car, but it is difficult if not almost impossible to find a single child who I have heard saying “when I grow up I want to be a farmer”. It is frightening to think who will be in charge of our food system, if so few people are willing to get their hands dirty and spend more than 8 hours in the sun. And who will care for this world where everyone eats but just a few get their hands dirty.

I know it’s not their fault. We are programmed to think that progress means leaving home to seek “better” opportunities. I feel that the farming profession has been devalued over the years. I feel it’s in my hands and in hands of those who make a living out of working the land, to make children proud about taking fresh harvest food to their family.

It feels good to wake up everyday knowing that at least one person can change their perspective on how to make a difference in their community. 

Anahi hails from the Paso Del Norte region (Border of New Mexico and Texas) and is serving with La Semilla Food Center in Anthony, NM. Anahi’s leadership and commitment is “I really hope to make an impact in the kids lives so they can educate themselves and also educate their families because we can always learn something new, I want them to take what I know so far when they go home and sit with their families at dinner time and not only talk about it but also maybe change the way their plate are going to look the next day.”

 

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