Huerto de la Familia

Arts / Culture   Food / Hunger   Minorities / Ethnic   Sustainability   

The mission of Huerto de la Familia is to offer Latino families a place to connect to the earth and their root by growing their own food. The vision of Huerto de la Familia is to cultivate community integration and economic self-sufficienty through opportunities and training in organic gardening, farming and the creation of micro-businesses.
EIN (501c3):
541 255-6120
3575 Donald St 145 D
City, State:
Eugene, Oregon 97405
familygarden [at]
We work to cultivate community integration and economic self-sufficiency by offering opportunities and training in organic gardening and farming and the development of food-based micro-enterprises. Huerto de la Familia is committed to building social equity, food justice and sustainable agriculture that has a lasting impact. With the help of community partners, impassioned volunteers and a wide-range of visionary funders we are coming closer to meeting a shared vision of fairness for all who live in our community.
  • To understand more about our mission and vision, watch our series of short films: Harvest of Pride.

How We Got Started

Huerto de la Familia (“The Family Garden”), a nonprofit organization in Eugene, Oregon, supports Latino families in Lane County create and access organic gardening opportunities and start small farm/food businesses via trainings and other support programs. Huerto began in 1999 as a small volunteer project serving six women in one garden plot and expanded the program in 2004. The organization has served more than 400 parents and children since its inception, and currently supports over 50 families at three community gardens and a farm in Eugene. All families live at 100% to 150% of the federal poverty level.

Where We’re Headed

Our work on food equity, food security, and economic empowerment via food and farm businesses has been recognized as valuable and innovative. WHY Hunger awarded Huerto de la Familia the Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award in 2009 and, in 2011, The Small Farmers’ Project won the Heifer International Golden Program Award for USA Country Programs. After ten years of work in the community, Huerto de la Familia’s revised its mission and vision as part of a strategic planning process to grow and improve our services. While our former mission “to strive and alleviate poverty and hunger among low-income Latino families” is still the core of our work, we have shifted focus onto the role and value of empowerment and self-sufficiency in addressing these issues.


AMOUNT: $515


Huerto de la Familia is located in Eugene, Oregon at the Churchill Community Garden operated by Food for Lane County. This year we will provide space and services for eight to ten families. Each family may choose to garden in either a 15′ by 10′ plot or a 30′ by 20′ plot. Families prepare, plant and tend their gardens and harvest their fruits and vegetables for their own use.

Our New Children’s Program In the previous five gardening seasons Huerto de la Familia has focused on reaching the adults and has only occasionally provided their children with activities at the garden. This year our goals include a structured, ongoing children’s program to be implemented at the garden during the time that their parents are meeting for classes and tending their gardens. The new children’s program would include:

  • Age-appropriate gardening activities including their own garden
  • A ‘house’ made of living sunflowers
  • An area in their garden for digging
  • Garden based art activities
  • Bilingual stories and educational activities


The four outcomes of the children’s program will be that the children will learn:

  • Basic organic gardening skills
  • The life cycle of a garden
  • The ecosystem of the site
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables taste good and are good for you


Huerto de la Familia and the children’s program will benefit the participants in the following ways:

  • Provide organic produce at no cost with high nutritional value
  • Appreciation of vegetables and fruits families have grown themselves
  • Reduced family stress
  • Child centered gardening activities while parents garden
  • A safe place to spend time outdoors
  • Less isolation as multiple families work toward a common goal
  • A sense of control, feelings of pride and increased self-esteem


AMOUNT: $1,145


The overarching goal of the project is to enable the Small Farmers Project of Lane County to attain food security and learn methods of organic agriculture. Families will manage and demonstrate a profitable farm business, which will increase each family’s income.


The above mentioned goal is supported by five objectives:

  1. To secure at least 6 acres of farmland that can be certified organic in 2009, is fertile land for growing a variety of crops, and is in close proximity to Eugene; and to develop initial farming infrastructure for it in 2008. outcome: Contracts signed by both parties; organic certification in 2009.  Infrastructure installed and number of acres prepared and cultivated.  Note the families have already secured land and have a contracts signed.
  2. To identify and select crops to plant together; plant these crops in 2008, 2009 and 2010; and to develop a written plan to sell crops, including securing a commitment from buyers, by 2009.  outcome: number of families profiting; number of raspberry, strawberry and mixed vegetables planted; number and variety of buyers; a written plan for selling crops.
  3. To raise 20 turkey poults in 2008 for home consumption and evaluate enterprise potential for raising 100 turkeys in 2009 and 2010. outcome: number of families participating; number of turkeys; rate of turkey mortality; rate of gain.
  4. By 2011, the Small Farm Project families are able to run their own farm (including production, marketing, and business components) and manage their group on their own. outcome: Are families making money? Are they able to manage their own group? Number of families that: attend trainings, number/type trainings offered, meeting attendance, smooth transition to leadership, percentage of women in leadership positions, clear and agreed upon bylaws.
  5. By 2011, Huerto de la Familia will have increased its organizational capacity in strategic planning, fundraising and created a volunteer program. outcome: Strategic plan in place, increase in revenue, number of volunteers, number hours committed to training, number of people invested in strategic planning process.

The families participating in the Small Farmer’s Project of Lane County live at or below the poverty level.  There is a need for the families to increase their food security, as well as to increase their earnings. The garden sites where families have grown food with Huerto de la Familia do not allow gardeners to sell their produce from these plots and their scale of production is limited by the community garden format.  A driving motivation for this project is that families in the Small Farmeroduce both to provide food for their families and to make additional income.

The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s richest agricultural region.   It is home to a number of small farms.  However, there are very few Latino-owned farms.  And yet, a study on the viability of small-scale family farming in the Portland area by Mercy Corps Northwest found that through hard work small farms can particularly help refugees and immigrants build assets.  Heifer International is providing some funding for this project for training, a farm consultant, agricultural and horticultural supplies and equipment, and capacity building for Huerto de La Familia.

The project meets the criteria of sustainability by training farmers to grow crops using organic methods; the project addresses economic justice by providing underserved farmers an opportunity to start their own farm business with the support of both

Huerto de la Familia and Heifer International; and provides food security to families living at or below the poverty level.



The funding helped purchase a pump and irrigation equipment for a cooperative farm.

The irrigation system was successfully installed over a period of several months.  The ground on the farm was developed in stages.

Installing the system was a true community effort.  Helios funding purchased a pump and irrigation pipe; the Collins Foundation and Heifer International helped to fund the well drilling effort and John Deer Landscape provided free training on setting up the water lines to the well.


AMOUNT: $1,085


The purpose of this application is to request funding for training for two separate projects:
1. To provide training for the Executive Director in micro enterprise creation in order to develop a micro enterprise program related to food and agriculture.

  • Goal: to enable the Executive Director to have more in-depth understanding of micro enterprise programs and resources in order to assist low-income Latino families to obtain knowledge and start-up capital to create their own small businesses related to agricultural products.
  • Method A) To secure training for the Executive Director in micro business development. Outcome: the Executive Director will receive this training via local and regional workshops, and courses at Lane Community College. As a result, the current participants of Huerto de la Familia (55 families) as well as others in the community will have access to this expertise and knowledge.
  • Method B) The program will provide case management services and organize trainings for five families in 2011.
  • Outcome: five families will begin to receive business training and case management that will enable them to start their own businesses.


2. To provide additional cooperative business training for members of the Small Farmers’ Project.

  • Goal: the Small Farmers Project (SFP) are able to run their own farm (including production, marketing and business components) and manage their group on their own by June 30, 2011.
  • Method: farmers will receive quarterly trainings in cooperative business development and management and ongoing training in leadership
  • Outcome: the farmers are able to operate independently of Huerto in the summer of 2011.

The project meets the criteria of sustainability by training one individual who will, in turn, train a large network of individuals and families, with whom she has already worked and formed bonds of trust and understanding. The project addresses economic justice by providing families living at or below the poverty level with the start-up capital and expertise necessary to open their own business.