"I am an immigrant. My father was a farmer who had olive and citrus groves. My family has a long history of growing their own foods as well as canning and preserving. I worked in manufacturing in the upstate New York for 20 years. I lived through many plant closings. In 2009 I lost my job of 15 years when my former company went bankrupt. There are no jobs in upstate New York, so I knew I had to try something different.
"When I exhausted my unemployment benefits, I moved back to Spain with my fiancée Rebeca (we are dual citizens), leaving my young adult children at my home in upstate New York. However, there is a severe economic crisis everywhere. I missed my home and my relatives in New York. The quality of life here is superior. I started to plan to go home and start my own business. Rebeca inspired me to become a vegan in 2008. My health improved dramatically. She inspired me to think about where my food comes from, how it is produced, etc. We gardened extensively, but now I want to start a farming business to provide jobs for both of us (she is also unemployed) and my children (two of which are unemployed or underemployed) and my fiancée's relatives (also unemployed)."
"I want to focus on locally grown vegetables and fruits and prefer not to use pesticides. I think I can be successful because I own 30 acres of land in upstate New York, I have gardened all my life, and I worked as a maintenance manager so I can fix any machine and build anything. Farming is the future of America and it is the one thing that cannot be offshore."
We look forward to working with Antonio, Rebeca, and all of our other trainees as they embark on the exciting and challenging pathway toward creating successful farming enterprises.