By Brienne Wong
In our latest Soluntaries Speak event, Central Coast farmer Javier Zamora from JSM Organics spoke with Anne Freiwald of Vital Cycles about his experience growing organic strawberries and mentoring the next generation of organic farmers.
Javier got his start growing vegetables in Mexico with his family, and later established JSM Organics in 2017 in Royal Oaks, California. When he started his farm, he created a model that focused on accessibility and sustainability, after seeing the challenges of being a small farmer competing with big corporations. People are very receptive to his model because they are interested in knowing where their food comes from, and his farm allows people to see how the strawberries and flowers are grown.
With a mentality of not harming the environment, his farm is certified organic, adheres to organic standards and methods, and makes sure the soil is in better condition after use than he found it in. He uses biodegradable plastic sheeting to protect his strawberries as they grow and packages his strawberries in compostable cardboard clamshell boxes, unlike the plastic clamshell that most strawberries come in.
Javier discussed sharing resources with young people and mentoring kids on farming in order to create a new generation of farmers. Farms are difficult, but not impossible, to start, because of the lack of access to land, markets, finance and language skills. He emphasized the need to support people to make it easier for new generations and new farms to thrive. When starting out as a new farmer, it’s important to tell your story to communicate to people what you’re trying to do.
He advises everyone to think about and research who grows your food and support small family farms because they have a big impact on local communities. If you want truly organic food, Javier recommends visiting farms and spending money on produce from your local farmers and not from corporate farms.
Thank you Javier for sharing your insight and experience. You can visit the JSM Organics farm to pick strawberries and support local produce on Saturday, May 29.
For more on Javier’s experience growing food, addressing plastic packaging in farming, helping kids connect with the land, and more, watch the full conversation on the BAGT YouTube channel. And don’t miss the next Solutionaries Speak event with biodynamic farmer Willow Summer on July 15, 12 - 1 pm PDT.
The Solutionaries Speak webcast series shares the work of climate heroes who are promoting healthy living practices, tackling the climate crisis, and finding positive solutions to urgent environmental problems.
Solutionaries Speak is a unique opportunity for participants to hear directly from environmental and social justice leaders about regeneration in action. Hear about sustainable strategies and practices we can all implement and advocate for in order to build a more resilient economy and vibrant future. Join the discussion with cutting edge thought leaders sharing their knowledge, experience, and passion.
Solutionary (n.): a person actively engaged in developing and implementing sustainable, regenerative, and just solutions for the urgent climate and social issues of our time that positively impact communities and our planet.