Hi, Everyone !
My name is Alondra Rivera and I'm a young farmer from Providence, Rhode Island. While in college I was studying things in the realm of agriculture but decided to take some time off and get hands on experience. I've been working on farms on and off since 2014 and finished my first full season apprenticeship this past year. My goal is to eventually start a farm of my own in the next few years and help allieviate the burden of food inequality that exists in my community.
I live in the South Side of Providence, where our most accesible food options consists of whatever's stocked at bodegas and gas stations. My neighborhood is also home to one of the heaviest concenrations of toxic chemical storage in New England and they only plan on expanding. I've witnessed too many injustices in my city with little effort being put into real rehabilitation and self sustainability. I think there's a lot of good intentioned work being done in my city but it keeps us dependent and only addresses the symptoms of poverty. I'm eager to see social justice work that allows marginalized people to be active participants in their aid not just receivers. I want to see changes that give black and brown people actual positions of power and resources so that we can then be advocates for ourselves. I'd like to see a shift in community work that works on sustaining existing causes and impact instead of creating new ones.
I was recently accepted into the 2018 Apprenticeship Program at UC Santa Cruz set to start in April. It's a 6 month training course in Ecological Horticulture run by the schools Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. I applied for financial aid but unfortunately didn't receive any funding and will have to cover the tuition costs myself (IN FULL). The program costs I'm raising money for include: tuition, housing, books, farm tools, food and general utility money for my time there. Currently I share a home with my brother and we support ourselves financially. Due to rent, utilities, insurance and other monthly bills I am not in a place where I can fund this opportunity alone.
I am a strong believer in the power of community and I hope/trust that with your support I can raise the money and resources I need to get to California. Upon completion of the program I will also receive a certificate in ecological horticulture that I am confident will aid me in receiving any future farm grants. I've had to turn down some educational opportunities along the way due to not having the funds or not being able to accept unpaid work exchange opportunities. I want this program to serve as one of my final endeavors before I take the leap and start a farm of my own.
I don't know if this opportunity will ever become avaiable to me again so I am turning to you now, my friends, family and communities who have supported my growth for so many years. With your continued support and contribution, whatever it maybe, I know that I can make this dream possible. Anything helps, even if you can't donate please share this message and maybe it'll reach someone who can.
Endless love and gratitude,
Alondra Arielis Rivera
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