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“This has changed my life.”

A graduate from Main Street Project’s Agripreneur Training Program holds a crate full of fresh cucumber, tomatoes and green bell peppers he had harvested peppersfor us to take home that day. Excitedly, he walks around the field checking to see if the jalapenos are ready for harvesting as well. Outreach coordinator Sebastian Burset asks him how he knows when to harvest the jalapeno, and he explains “Just lightly flip the jalapeno upward and if it snaps then it’s ready – no need for pulling. It’s supposed to be done gently.”

Selling his produce brings him joy because he is so proud of the healthy food he produces, though he gladly also gives it away because he wants everyone to benefit and enjoy it. Burset provides ongoing support for training graduates.

Together they make sure the vegetables are being sold at a fair market price for everyone involved, making sure it’s a win-win situation.

This soft-spoken and very hardworking individual has been working with Main Street Project for about three years, in fieldaddition to holding another job and caring for laying hens as a side project.

I asked him to choose a plant for me to photograph for advertising, and he said “Como a mi me gustan las plantas, todas estan bonitas.” (“Since I love plants, to me they are all beautiful.”) He is very passionate about agriculture and currently supplies restaurants and colleges in the community and surrounding cities. “Esto ha cambiado mi vida,” (“This has changed my life”), he explained in a meeting earlier this year. This year he planted and harvested vegetables from nearly 7,000 plants.