The 161st recipient is Alicia del Aguila of Aloha Redland @aloharedland in Homestead, Fl. Alicia writes, “I became a farmer soon after my interest in Nutrition, the Environment & Wellness began to kindle. For me at the time, farming meant that I would be the closest to the food my community and I would be eating. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I barely even knew that Chinese cabbage was so delicious!
My friends showed huge support, they would tell me that they wanted to help and be a part of the ‘movement’. I felt like the farm, plants and food involved were speaking out for themselves and through me. Since the beginning of my career I have seen many people’s reactions to different plant related miracles and it brings me joy each time.
I feel that when a community has an emotional, spiritual and conscious connection with their food, the energy that is put out into the rest of the world is enriching, positive and uplifting! I have felt this way for awhile now; when it comes to a community, eating together is what keeps it together.
Farming is hard work, landscaping is hard work, running a business is hard work. I know that there have been many times when I have not taken better care of myself. I have been so tired that I could hardly walk, I have fallen asleep in the car, I have chosen to eat fast food rather than to cook for myself. I have not protected myself from the sun well enough, I have not worn a mask when needed, I have used my body too much to the point of losing feeling in my fingers and having piercing pain in my back - but every action led to a reaction and a lesson. If I were as ‘seasoned’ as I am now in farming, I certainly would have made better choices. Mentally, I experienced burnout and stress to the point of debilitation and doubt regarding my farming actions/career. I have also felt challenged Spiritually as odd as that may sound, because Nature is the essence of Spirit.
My goal is to reduce stress, focus on seeing possibilities, feeling my passion and helping the community as best I can while still making it financially feasible.”