The 160th recipient is Vero Vergara (they/them) of Sweet Hollow Farm @sweethollowfarm in Woodinville, WA. Vero writes, “I’m a queer, nonbinary, disabled, and brown multiracial farmer and food systems organizer based on Sammamish, Duwamish, Coast Salish lands. I am a worker-owner of Sweet Hollow Farm along with my brilliant partner, Caitlin Ehlers. We grow vegetables and herbs on 1 acre of leased land.
I farm because I honor food as a basic human right, a basis of cultural belonging, and a basis of political power. I work to build community power, agency, and self determination in the food system through intersectional visionary organizing and community care. Believing the words of Grace Lee Boggs that, ‘We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other.’
There are some tremendous systemic changes coming to a head in our lifetimes, from transformative decolonial land back movements to calls for climate reparations to the work of dismantling global supply chains so we may see community food systems flourish instead. Under the intense pressures of this moment in history, self care is both imperative and contentious. I find some inner calm in the perspective that one of the most important parts of being a farmer and a human, is to be witness to a constantly changing world. What I’m doing now, in my lifetime, is part of a multigenerational project, and if I lay my pieces of this work down with intention and nuance, my work will be picked up by those who follow in my lineage. I’m proud to live my life informed by an ethos of community care that I have learned through POC, leftist, abolitionist, trans, queer, disabled movement elders and geniuses of all trades who I’ve been lucky to love.
This year I’m motivated to take good care of myself so I can keep learning the many lessons of patience, care, determination, disappointment, discernment, and love that tending land and growing food for my communities offers me.”