The 215th recipient is Maria Dominique Villanueva of Fountain Heights Farms @fountainheightsfarms in Birmingham, Alabama.
Dominique writes, “I started farming to survive living in poverty. Farming was one way that my family was able to access fresh produce in my community in an affordable way. Thankfully our harvest has always been abundant and we have been able to share what we had with our neighbors. Being able to be part of our neighborhood’s food justice movement is why we expanded our farming to what now includes four sites that provided over $32k in fresh produce to our community last year.
When I think about the numbers, the number of pounds we grow and the number of people our farm helps to feed it’s very humbling. Our connection to and reverence for nature continues to bless us and our community with abundant food as we work to listen to the land and heal our bodies.
As a person who is also living on the margins and experiencing poverty, I’m also frustrated by the expectation that we must do so much with so little. Farming is physically intense and brings up so much ancestral trauma related to enslavement, violence, and extraction that can be overwhelming. Having a network of therapists, coaches, mentors, other farmers, and land stewards who can relate and help walk through the healing required to continue this work is essential.”