Sofia Collins moved to the Salinas area with her husband and children to be a farm worker. But after just three days, Collins began getting rashes all over her arms and legs. She believes they were a reaction to the pesticides being sprayed in the fields. As part of our occasional series "What's Your Story?," we hear from her and her son Jay Rengal, about how an organic farm helped change their lives. Reporter: Shuka Kalantari
Sofia Collin moved to Salinas with her husband and children to make a living as a farm worker. But after three days, Collin began getting rashes all over her arms and legs. She says she thinks they were caused by a reaction to the pesticides being sprayed in the fields. As part of our occasional series "What's Your Story," we hear from Collin and her son Jay Rengal about how an organic farm helped change their lives.
Twenty-one year old Jay Rengal remembers when his mom first started learning how to be an organic farmer with a group called ALBA Organics in Salinas. Rengal was studying computer sciences at Oregon State University at the time.
“She used to call me and like tell me, ‘We’re learning this and that about organic agriculture. About pesticides and how they affect humans and the plants themselves,’” says Rengal. “And I wasn’t really paying attention at that time because I was kind of busy. But now I’m really interested in what’s she’s doing. “
Rengal’s mother, Sofia Collins says when she first started on the farm, she only grew green beans, beets and carrots. “Right now I have strawberries too,” says Collins. “I have green beans, zucchini, soy beans, beets, cilantro, parsley, tomatoes. I have two farmers market that I sell to in King City and Gonzalez; Los Jira Soles in Soledad. ”
Rengal says he decided to move back to Salinas, so that he could help his mom out with her growing business.
“I started finding clients for our business. Local clients - because we want people to be eating organic. You know we give them a little information about why, why organic, so they can know,” says Rengal. “We’re creating a website now which will allow us to sell to, basically the world. Other families maybe here in ALBA don’t have that opportunity. Because I studied computer science, so I should know this. So maybe other families don’t know how to get online, or even don’t know how to print something. Or just look for information about their plants. If their plants are dying they need to know why they’re dying.”
Collins says her dream is own her own ranch one day and teach other people how to farm organic.
“My concern is how the people are getting sick,” says Collins. “I think it is they exposed to pesticides. I feel very bad for that. I would like many people be healthy for many, many years.”