Friday, August 22, 2008
Every Friday, you can find him quietly selling some of the best, sustainably grown vegetables the Union Square Greenmarket has to offer. Hector Tejada farms under Certified Naturally Grown standards, selling the fruits (or vegetables) of his labors at a very reasonable price. His booth is loaded with squashes, heirloom tomatoes, dark leafy greens, potatoes, beans, herbs and eggplants. It's hard to get to know the seemingly shy and reticent Hector, but his food speaks for him. It is full of flavor - clearly grown with the love and care we should expect of our food.
Hector is the founder of Farmers of the World, an organization that helps immigrant workers build a community that provides food for themselves and us in a wholesome, traditional way. The organization provides training and education while growing fabulous, clean food on a 30-acre organic farm in Northampton, Pennsylvania.
Sustainability, to me, is more than about how one cares for the land - it is about how one cares for himself and all of us. I think we have all heard by now how food today is much less nutritious than it was hundreds of years ago. The supplement industry would have you believe that without your multivitamin, you may not survive. It's true that commercially produced food is denatured and nutrient poor, but that is not what you buy from Hector. Vibrant, nutritionally dense produce can be easily gotten from Conuco Farm or the dozen or so other farmers at the market who understand the importance of sustainable farming. So, if you want fulfilling, healing food, put your money where your mouth is. Make sure that your purchases support those who are working hard to create food that keeps us healthy.
One day, Hector would like to farm his own land, investing in long term crops like berries and fruit. For now, his land in New Paltz, NY is rented and unsprayed raspberries are still a few years away. We can wait, though - supporting Hector on his journey as he supports us on ours.
Farmers of the World
Certified Naturally Grown