How community gardens preserve culture and grow hope. Marissa Zarate | TEDxUOregon

This talk explores the magic that occurs when immigrant families come together to build community while growing foods that preserve their culture. Marissa Elena Zarate is the Executive Director of Huerto de la Familia, an organic gardening and small business start-up nonprofit for immigrant families in Eugene, Oregon. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Law, Marissa also holds a B.A. in Peace Studies from Chapman University. As an attorney, her work focused on immigrant and tenant legal rights. In her current role, she helps create opportunities for families to increase their health, and build community by growing their own organic food. The daughter of a Costa Rican immigrant mother and Mexican-American father, Marissa is now a passionate advocate and leader focused on environmental and human rights issues in the Latinx community. When she isn’t brainstorming innovative programming, Marissa can be found exploring Oregon’s natural wonders with her husband José, stepson Alex, and trusty canine, Gracie. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Spotlight: Story Corp Interview Marissa Zarate and Guadalupe Quinn

“If I could go back 30 years and re-do this work, I would do it very differently. I would be more intentional in my balance… I learned that there is a way to do this work in a way that’s healthy because we have to be able to sustain ourselves.”
– Guadalupe Quinn
What does it mean to commit to social justice for the long haul? In this intergenerational interview, Marissa Zarate, Executive Director of the grassroots nonprofit, Huerto de la Familia, interviews community activist, Guadalupe Quinn about her lifelong dedication to advocating for immigrant families and social justice in Eugene, Oregon. Click the link below to listen.

Leadership Development

El Comité de los Líderes

The Líderes are a diverse group of Huerto de la Familia program members.  They include members of our garden and business program. Many have been members for over a decade while others are joining Huerto for the first year.  The diversity of experiences is critical in creating services that are responsive to the needs of our members.

Líderes meets regularly to build a network of support for program members and develop their leadership capacity.  This active group is committed to the wellbeing of the gardens, the organization, and the Latino community.  They are actively building on the rich legacy of Latino leadership, which has played an important role in social change and civil rights.


“The Power of Latino Leadership” by Juana Bordas,