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Local Grower Spotlight: Jorge’s Story

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Jorge is so devoted to feeding all creatures that when he harvests his homegrown vegetables for the farmers’ market, he always leaves a few behind for the garden animals to snack on.

Jorge Felix Pinon grew up surrounded by fruit trees on his grandparents’ ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico. He has spent his lifetime cultivating his relationship with food and the land.

Today, Jorge grows at our Las Milpitas Community Farm, where he is a garden leader with lots of knowledge to share and a fervent desire to learn from other growers. Well-known for his verdolagas, Jorge never fails to bring fresh, native produce to our Santa Cruz River Farmer’s Market.

Jorge’s success as a grower is largely due to his constant innovation. In order to keep growing his famous verdolagas—typically a summer vegetable—throughout the winter, Jorge has come up with his own techniques to keep summer alive in his garden. Using a fine mesh netting to protect his plants, Jorge cultivates his very own “in-ground” greenhouse to preserve his summer plants throughout the cold months. Jorge also grows beautiful tomato plants—in December! The vibrant yellow flowers stand tall among his crisp verdolagas, herbs, rainbow chard, bok choy, radishes, carrots, green onions, and three different types of kale.

“I have learned so many things here at Las Milpitas and through the Food Bank,” says Jorge. He has attended workshops on water harvesting, plant propagation, organic pesticides, and fertilization, offered at the community farm and Nuestra Tierra Garden.

As someone who became involved with our Abundant Harvest Cooperative through a friend, Jorge appreciates the mutual aid and support the cooperative provides—especially how each member can help others continue to grow. Jorge’s name, which translates literally to “farmer” and “gardener,” truly encompasses his commitment to cultivating intentional relationships with the land and with one another, “con gusto.”