Dear Amigos,

2017 has been a year for the history books. When it began, we all felt trepidation at what was to come, but here is December, and we made it through! In fact, we made 2017 a year to remember for positive and uplifting reasons. Here in our Huerto de la Familia family, the family you are a part of, we spent 2017 building community. We did this by showing up when it mattered, volunteering our money to support local community-building, keeping informed on current events, caring for one another, and coming together.

This holiday season, Huerto de la Familia is thankful for the following:

  • Over 100 individuals volunteering their time with Huerto de la Familia.
  • More than 100 donors, 12 local foundations, and 15 Lane County businesses giving money to keep our work going.
  • Our Hot Peppers Monthly Giving Circle growing to include 13 donors giving a combined total of more than $2,000 per year.
  • Countless community members showing up to advocate for Sanctuary Status, successfully moving it forward in Eugene, 4J School District, and Lane County.
  • Coordinating family preparedness packet and Know Your Rights trainings for immigrant families in Lane County.
  • Providing garden plots, supplies, and one-on-one support to 85 families, over 400 individuals.
  • Three graduating classes in our Cambios Business Program.
  • A successful Dia de Salud clinic with 75 patients attending and 40 volunteers from University of Oregon and the Eugene community.
  • Our first Future Harvest month of volunteering and fundraising was a huge success raising over $5,000 and including our largest volunteer garden work party of the year.
  • Organizing to protect DACA Dreamers in our community.
  • Entering the final phase of planning for the new Bethel Garden behind Kalapuya High School. We will be breaking ground there in the Spring. Keep your eyes and ears open for volunteer opportunities!

Thank you for making possible all that we accomplished this year. I treasure you, and your generosity to our organization. During this season of giving and kindness, we are thankful for the generosity you show to Huerto de la Familia. Our incredible and passionate staff work hard to make our garden and business programs the best they can be, and every single program participant works hard to make the most of the opportunities we provide. As we continue expanding the number of families we serve, we are only able to do so because of your incredible support.

I would like to share with you a story about the work we accomplished in 2017. This year, an elderly couple, Estela and Florentino, signed up for our Cambios Business Planning Class. Over the next 12 weeks, we learned about their incredible passion for growing food and also about their limitations. As children, Estela only attended school until the second grade, and Florentino didn’t attend school at all. Despite these limitations, they are unstoppable in their determination to succeed. They worked the best they could with help from our incredible University of Oregon intern, Jackie, and graduated on December 13th. Next summer, they will be selling you the sweetest melons and spiciest jalapeños you have ever eat!

Nuestros papás crecieron y nos enseñaron, como sus papás a ellos. Nos gusta mucho crecer vegetales y frutas. Pensamos que ser agricultor es un trabajo propio y nos encanta!”

                                                                        – Estela and Florentino

Translation: Our parents grew food, and they taught us how to grow food just like their parents taught them. We enjoy growing vegetables and fruits. We think that being a farmer is a very wholesome job and we love it!

Families like Florentino and Estela are exactly the reason that Huerto de la Familia started the Cambios Micro-Development Program. The Cambios Program exists in order to provide life-changing services to families who were disadvantaged by the system, those who did not have access to a basic education, and people who are taken advantage of in their work places. In spite of these obstacles, these entrepreneurs have key traits in common: hope, ambition, hard work, and a positive outlook on life.

As we gather together with friends and family to celebrate the holidays with love and joy, we send warm wishes to you – our friends and family. Not only did we make it through 2017, but we rose above the challenges and worked together to build community and protect our most vulnerable populations. The work isn’t done yet, but let’s take this holiday season to celebrate all we have accomplished. From all of us at Huerto de la Familia, we wish you a happy, healthy, and joyful holiday season and New Year!


Marissa Elena Zarate

Executive Director

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