Meet Mary our incredible Production Manager!
How did you learn about Finca Tres Robles and what made you want to join?
“I grew up in Spring, just north of Houston. I moved away in 2010 and just recently moved back in March of 2020. My brother has lived in the East End for 8 years and worked for Finca Tres Robles in 2016. I’ve been coming to the farm when I was home for the holidays since he started working at the farm. My Dad is also a regular on the farm. So, I’ve been loosely tied to the farm and feel fortunate to now have the opportunity to work at Finca Tres Robles.”
Did you have prior experience?
“I didn’t have any real prior vegetable farming experience. My background is with horses and have worked within that industry for the past 13 years. I’ve worked on horse farms where there were vegetables, dairy and livestock. I have dabbled in a bit of each but each field is so specialized and there is so much to learn.”
What drew you to farming?
“There are many things that drew me to farming. I’ve always wanted to learn how to grow my own food, improve health for myself and others, and have a job where I am physically active. I love being outside and I love connecting with people in those spaces. My reasons are continuously evolving as I learn more about farming, the food system, and health.”
What are some of the obstacles that you’ve faced with urban farming?
“The farms I’ve worked at in the past were more rural, usually surrounded by open spaces and beautiful nature. I’d wake up and enjoy the quiet. Urban farming is different. I arrive at the farm before the sun rises and you can already hear the train, sirens, and factories buzzing. We are surrounded by concrete and factories. While this has been a challenge, it is also inspiring. We are farming in the middle of the city. There are night herons and bright green tree frogs. You can smell the flowers on the citrus trees. It feels like a safe haven in the midst of city chaos.”
“As a farmer starting out who does not own their own farm, I acknowledge that there are deeper obstacles of urban farming such as policies, lack of support, access to land, start-up costs, and financial strains.”
What motivates you to farm?
“What motivates me to farm is that I can hopefully influence and impact the health of my community and the earth. Individually, I am motivated to learn new skills, be more resourceful, and physically active.”
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your work?
“Learning the specific needs of the different crops has been a challenge. Something that might benefit one crop will kill another crop. We have to constantly pay attention to the weather, bugs, plant diseases, and soil conditions.”
What does community mean to you?
“To me, community is one of the most important needs of being human and how we function in this world. We need the support, company, and love. I know from personal experience that my community has helped me in my darkest times. Family, friends, and neighbors have stepped up for me when I have needed it and I hope I do the same for them. The community at Finca Tres Robles is unique. I feel grateful that I get to grow food for my neighbors. This community connects me with the people around me and with the earth.”
What are your favorite things that you’ve grown here so far?
“This is a hard question because everything is so good! I especially love the rainbow Swiss chard. It’s delicious fresh or sautéed and boasts beautiful, vibrant colors.”