At just fourteen years old, Maria Ana Reyes arrived in the US from Mexico after the loss of her parents. She began working as a fieldworker, finding ways to supplement her income by also selling various items. As migrant workers, Maria Ana, her husband, and their four children followed the seasons by moving from one harvest to the next in search of work. Eventually, she learned about the Farmer Education Program (PEPA) at the Agriculture & Land-Based Training Association (ALBA); however, she was initially hesitant to apply owing to her elementary-level education. Maria Ana’s experience and intuition endowed her with knowledge and instinct that no formal education could convey, prompting her to go after the ALBA opportunity and realize her ambition to own a farming business that provides for her family.
Maria Ana’s graduation from the PEPA program led her to Kitchen Table Advisors in 2019. In light of challenges around land security and insufficient labor, Maria Ana’s focus has been on diversifying her market channels while building soil health as a long-term investment in her operation.