From Full Belly Farm, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop
In April of 2013, we wanted to let folks learn a little bit more about the people who work at Full Belly Farm, so we interviewed one of the crew members who irrigates the crops, Arturo Gaxiola.
Full Belly: First, please tell me a bit about your job at FB.
Arturo Gaxiola: My job is irrigating, the water. For example, we have several types of sprinkler right now: one type is the drip line like we use in the grapes and now we are also irrigating the peaches with special permanent drip lines. They are above the ground, with little sprinkles in between every two trees. I think the fruit is going to be better.
FB: Are there people that help you?
AG: There are three other people – all together four of us.
FB: Do you do the same job all year?
AG: In April we all start with melons, watermelons, tomatoes, and all the vegetables. Next month we’re going to be really busy, and all summer too. This year we started in March – we will probably go until October. In November and December, there is less work.
FB: How long have you worked as an irrigator?
AG: Maybe about 15 years, more or less.
FB: Do you get bored or tired of always irrigating every single year?
AG: I like working outside and it is pretty here at Full Belly.
FB: When did you first arrive here?
AG: In 1991. The first thing I did was pick tomatoes.
FB: How did you learn to irrigate?
AG: In Mexico, I worked irrigating – so I knew a little bit, but there is much less work there. I worked a little bit on farms in Mexico, but there wasn’t much work. In May, June, July, August, September, it is too hot. There is nothing to pick and it is too hot for vegetables to grow.
FB: Where were you born?
AG: In Mexico – Los Moches, Sinaloa.
FB: Do you still have family there?
AG: Yes, my brother, my mom, and dad. They are working, but they don’t have much work.
FB: Tell me about your family here in California.
AG: I am here in California with my family – my wife and three kids. They are happy.
FB: Do they have dreams about the future?
AG: Yes they all have dreams. They want to study.
FB: Is there anything that you would like to say to our CSA members?
AG: I would like to say to all of them that we work very hard – not just me, but everyone. We work hard checking everything, cleaning the fields. If they eat our fruits and vegetables, they can be sure that the whole farm is clean and the vegetables are good. There are no problems. We work thinking of them and that they are eating the best fruits and vegetables. We are here to serve them. Everything is beautiful.