Note: This story has been edited from its original publication to reflect recent changes.
You wouldn’t know it by watching him now, but in 2015, Antonio hit hard times...
His job had just been outsourced overseas, and he recently divorced. He found himself with no choice but to move in with his mother. At the time, his mother was participating in Re:Vision's Re:Farm program, our signature program that helps local families grown their own organic produce as a way to help create a community food system and provide families with healthy food in an area with no access to healthy food.
In time, Antonio began helping in the garden, thanks to encouragement of his promotora, Inda.
"Inda had an infectious passion for teaching that extended outside of gardening. She helped us figure out some assistance programs, and other programs that seemed too intimidating to try out on our own."
Then he began participating in classes at La Cocina
"Inda noticed I was a bit isolated, and suggested I take a class. At first I laughed, I didn't consider myself much of a cook, but she insisted it was about more than cooking."
After his first class, Antonio was hooked.
He learned what to do with the extra produce from his garden, and new recipes from fellow community members. "I went from eating fast food and not socializing with my neighbors, to eating freshly harvested vegetables from my own yard and feeling like I was truly part of the community."
Now, Antonio works as Re:Vision's director of operations. When he applied for the job, he told Eric Kornacki not to hire him during his interview. He didn’t feel qualified, or like he could do it, but Eric assured him that the technical skills would come, what Antonio has was something he wouldn’t be able to teach someone else; passion for his community and culture, and a deep understanding of how the Re:Farm program is so much more than gardening.
He's also recently completed his studies at Colorado State University’s global campus and helps his family business, a Colombian food stand at a local farmers market.
After work and school, his entire family pitches in and helps in the garden. He says he considers it some of his most cherished quality time with them. It’s one of the few times during the day they are away from distractions and get to be together.
"I cannot imagine what the trajectory of my life would have been had my Promotora not encouraged me to get more involved with my community and my personal health. I am thankful everyday for the role Re:Vision has played in my life."