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Javier Zamora

Company: 
JSM Organics
Award: 
Rising Star Award
Year: 
2018

Immigrating to the United States in 1986, Javier Zamora worked in the service industry in southern California for 20 years before going back to school at the age of 43, earning his GED and a degree in landscape design before enrolling in the horticulture program at Cabrillo College. Sharpening his farming skills through the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), he started farming organically in 2012 on 1.5 acres. Today, as owner of JSM Organics, he farms over 100 acres on California’s Central Coast. He also is a mentor to other farmers and a leading voice in the local organic community.

He frequently speaks on farmer panels and at events, including, most recently, at The Organic Center’s 2018 Organic Confluences Summit. He is a strong advocate for beginning farmers and federal conservation programs. Zamora sits on the Boards of ALBA, Ecological Farming Association, and Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, and is a member of USDA’s Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.

Exhibiting great capacity for resilience, he started a small organic farm in a region where land values are prohibitively expensive. As an immigrant who did not know the language or culture when he arrived, he has persisted and adapted, creating a thriving business, and serving as a role model for local small-scale growers. He is an advocate for immigrant farmers and farmworkers in California. Zamora is known for paying his workers a more than fair wage, and has expanded the number of workers he employs.

“You help others succeed because you’ve been given that opportunity. That’s the real American way,” Zamora explains.

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