Meet some of our recently trained urban farmers
Santa was an SCLT farm apprentice working at Pat’s Pastured farm in East Greenwich, RI, during the 2016 growing season. Whether it was processing poultry orders for Pat’s CSA or feeding the pigs, Santa was immersed in the workings of a pastured-raised, grass-fed livestock operation. Born in the Dominican Republic, Santa’s experience in animal husbandry dates from her time as a university student in veterinary sciences, and eventually in veterinary surgery. Her apprenticeship at Pat’s Pastured allowed her to connect her veterinary career with the hard work and care required for raising livestock.
When Jahmal finished four years of military service, healthy eating became an important part of his transition to civilian life. Impassioned to learn more about growing healthy and sustainable food, Jahmal visited a local Department of Agriculture office, which led him to apply for the 2016 SCLT apprentice program. Working at Blue Skys Farm, a vegetable, flower and herb farm in Cranston, Jahmal learned the ins and outs of organic agriculture. In the future, Jahmal aspires to start his own nonprofit farm for veterans, the homeless and people struggling with substance abuse, with organic practices at its core.
Teodulio & Margarita Martinez
With all 400 square feet of the family’s front and backyard on Providence’s South Side converted into an urban farm, Teodulio is passionate about growing fresh produce for his community. On top of his 35 years of agricultural experience in the Dominican Republic, Teodulio is now a commercial grower at Urban Edge Farm, SCLT’s rural incubator farm. He credits his 2016 apprenticeship at SCLT with “helping me with socializing and making friends in this country, and providing knowledge about the climate,” seeds and growing practices at other farms. Teodulio’s delicious produce can be found at the SCLT co-op booth at the Sankofa World Market. A jack-of-all-trades, Teodulio is also a beekeeper, caterer, baker, winemaker and rabbit wrangler, with a little help from his wife Margarita.
Formerly employed in landscaping and plant nursery work, David became an SCLT farm apprentice at Cranston’s Scratch Farm in 2016. The son of a biologist who often kept a garden, David brought immense curiosity but limited agricultural knowledge to his apprenticeship and was astounded by all he was able to learn about small-scale, bio-intensive farming. From transplanting and cover cropping to solarizing and low-till cultivation, David’s exposure to these methods has encouraged him to continue to learn about sustainable farming so that he may eventual start is own operation. “I didn’t really understand organic farming before my apprenticeship,” he says, “and it changed my life. You don’t need big machinery to farm; you can do things in a more peaceful way.”.