Throughout the Paso del Norte region of southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, La Semilla Food Center is cultivating long-term, sustainable, and restorative changes to the food system. Formed in 2010, the nonprofit organization focuses on hands-on, land-based projects and systems-changing policy advocacy.

La Semilla carries out its work through five programs rooted in the Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem: Community Farm, Farm Fresh, Edible Education, Community Education, and Policy & Community Development. These programs aim to center the experience and expertise of communities most affected by harmful structures and practices within the food system.

“As members of this diverse community consisting of multiple social and natural ecosystems, we know that at the confluence of our relationship to land, our distinct, earth‐based heritage foodways, and our practice of intersectional feminism lies the locus of resilience for future generations,” Rubí Orozco Santos, Director of Organizational Storytelling and Development at La Semilla, tells Food Tank.

La Semilla is advocating for safe and dignified work environments for farm workers in the Paso del Norte region, many of whom are immigrants from Mexico and Central America. “The way farm workers are treated remains one of the most shameful elements of our food system,” says Orozco Santos. “The industrial food system has always depended on cruelty and human rights violations.”

U.S. farm workers face increased vulnerability due to compounding political, economic, and environmental threats. Economic hardship, immigration status, spoken language, national origin, race, and socioeconomic status exemplify some of the factors that contribute to farm workers being the targets of systematic exploitation and exclusion.

Read the full article about fighting for better food systems by Vicky Brown Varela at Food Tank.