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Forest Grove (Dec. 18, 2009) *Big changes are happening to the organic farming project at Adelante Mujeres, a non-profit based in Forest Grove. This year, Adelante Mujeres was awarded a three year grant for a total of $300,000 from the USDA's Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) grant program, administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Of the more than $14 million grants to organizations throughout the country that will provide training and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, Adelante Mujeres was the sole grant recipient in Oregon. Established in 2005, Adelante Mujeres' organic farming project, Adelante Agricultura, prepares Latino farmers and farm workers who are interested in growing produce using organic methods. With the USDA grant, Adelante Mujeres will now expand their outreach efforts to both Washington and Yamhill Counties.

In November, Adelante Mujeres signed a lease with private landowners to farm 12 acres of land within the Forest Grove city limits. This land will become an educational cooperative farm with small plots of land that will be subleased to Latino farmers and farm workers that are participating in Adelante Agricultura.

Adelante Agricultura offers a 12- week farming course where participants learn everything they need to know about natural and sustainable farming: building the soil, planning the plot, weed and pest management, irrigation systems, harvesting, displaying and selling products at farmers markets, and how to rent and buy land. Adelante Agricultura also provides technical assistance, individually or in groups, about cultivating and marketing agricultural products, and partners with another project of Adelante Mujeres to offer a business course. Project Director Alejandro Tecum shares the reason behind the formation of Adelante Agricultura: "This program grew out of a need to provide support to Latinos who want to provide for their families by working the land and who are interested in using organic cultivation methods. Many Latino farm workers are well versed in conventional cultivation methods, but do not have the resources to switch to organic methods."

After participating in the classes, farmers are provided with a plot of land at Adelante?s educational cooperative farm. These farmers grow vegetables for the Forest Grove Farmers Market as well as other direct marketing outlets such as a cooperative Community Supported Agriculture project organized at the farm. Adelante Mujeres manages the Forest Grove Farmers Market so that the Latino farmers participating in Adelante Agricultura can have an immediate opportunity for selling their produce to the greater Forest Grove community. For more information about the Adelante Agricultura, contact Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Anne Morse at [email protected] or call 503-992-2041.

Adelante Mujeres 2420 19th Ave. Forest Grove, OR 97116 Phone: 503.992.0078 Fax: 503.359.1939 www.adelantemujeres.org