For the last 10 years, Carolina Barajas’ vision has been to supply local families with healthy organic food and to inspire children and adults about the pivotal role organic farming plays in a strong community. As Barajas wraps up her degree in horticulture and organic farming systems at Oregon State University, she looks forward to educating the next generation on the importance of organic food and farming. “It has been interesting and a beautiful journey. Before my discovery of organic products, I didn't even know there was a difference in product quality and especially didn't know the environmental challenges we face in farming. I'm very proud of my learning and truly enjoy passing down information to others about organic products, gardening, and anything to do with farming. I love sharing information just as much as I love receiving information about the topic.” With a financial boost from the CCOF Foundation Future Organic Farmers grant, Barajas is finalizing her training on how to run a successful organic farm, including supporting healthy soils and organic weed management, and is poised to pass that knowledge on.
Harnessing this education, Barajas intends to open her own organic farm, creating a place for hands-on learning and discovery for students of all ages. “My goal in creating this [farm] is really to connect people to farming and growing food and educate others on the importance of sustainability and organic so that it can be normal and not unknown, especially for children who are the next generation.” Her farm will include playgrounds near the garden, allowing children to learn and become accustomed to knowing where their food grows. It will also include a pony field, a therapy garden, and chicken and goat areas where young people can work with animals to further understand their interconnectedness. By creating a welcoming, passionate, and diversified learning experience, Barajas hopes to demystify organic and help others understand its importance.
This is the first year that the CCOF Foundation supported Carolina Barajas’ career in organic agriculture. Barajas plans to continue learning and growing organically and graduate from Oregon State University with a degree in horticulture and organic farming systems while also continuing to run Gratitude Gardens Childcare in Corvallis, Oregon. The CCOF Foundation congratulates and wishes the best to Carolina Barajas with her studies in 2021!