Vendor in the Spotlight: Javier Lara of Anahuac Produce – by Lauren Fulwiler

August 9, 2016 |  by  |  Blog, Vendor Profiles

Each Sunday morning Javier Lara can be found chatting with neighbors about the products at his booth, laughing, and giving out samples. He’s the type of warm personality that sells you produce with a story.  Since coming to the United States from Mexico more than 20 years ago, Javier has been working as a farmer, a community leader, and an activist for human rights. His philosophy on farming stems from a deep connection to nature, and his practice mimics those beliefs. Javier says farming is “more than just local or organic. It has to do with community. And human beings are part of this system.“

Javier has been working directly with Oregon’s only farm workers union and has found himself in the role of a teacher. He uses the example of a 19-year-old boy who Javier has been working with. He says teaching the boy about farming is not enough. “Whatever the standard may be, it’s important to go beyond.” For Javier the larger lesson in farming is respecting the process. “Tradition and culture – we don’t just farm to impose our power on Mother Nature. We ask for permission. We ask for blessings. We do ceremonies. We have celebrations. And then, after that, we start planting. We come from indigenous communities, and we are proud of where we come from.”

In addition to leading new generations of farmers, Javier has been an ally for victims of wage theft. In the state of Oregon alone, lawsuits are filed each year totaling multi-millions in unpaid wages.  Javier describes this as the deep and dark secret that most people know very little about, and no one likes to talk about. People want cheap products and produce, but at what cost? Javier reminds us that someone somewhere is always paying that extra cost.  Javier himself has a personal history of being exposed to much injustice. “It taught me a lesson about what I would never do to another peer. You are more than an employee. We see the worker as a relationship.” Javier loves sharing this message and believes farming is a privilege. If you share similar values, he is honored to share with you. From farming techniques to seeds, Javier sees no reason to “hold our secrets,” but rather has made growing and sharing food a truly communal celebration.

If you believe good intention can be tasted in food, Javier is the real deal. This year he will be bringing Mexican herbs along with other traditional Mexican vegetables to the Montavilla market. Right now, you can find huauzontle at his table. If you’re new to this plant, Javier recommends using it to make Huauzontle Cakes with Pasilla Chile Sauce. We couldn’t be more excited to see what more Javier has in store to share!

For information about Oregon’s largest labor union and Latino organization, visit http://www.pcun.org. Read more about Javier’s work in the Willamette Week: Breaking from custom, one small Oregon farm pays strawberry pickers by the hour, and with Adelante Mujeres: Can a farmer be successful without exploiting workers and land?.

Cover photo by Lisa Waters.

Javier Lara

Javier and happy customers. Photo by Lauren Fulwiler.

 

1 Comment


  1. Hola me puede ablar compañero por favor soy Carmen

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