With each generation, we build the future. Karla Ahumada Regalado has her hands in the soil as she journeys toward revitalization. She sees that “the whole world is impacted by the agriculture industry, not only the farmer working within it. Soil quality is reflected upon our crop quality, and crop quality is reflected upon the health of the people.”
At the Soil Health Academy, which is integrated with Chico State University’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems, Karla dove into solving the struggles of farmers across the nation, including challenges with water resources, crop quality, climate change, and rising crop production costs. She learned to look deeper than the roots of the problem to the substance in which it is planted. And there, in the soil, is where Karla found the solution.
Her motivation to care for the land and people stems from growing up in Salinas, California, where she walked among lettuce and strawberry fields. She encountered firsthand conventional operations with high synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use. During her education, she realized “a lot of the [regenerative] practices are not well-suited for row crops like strawberries and lettuce.” She says that she’d therefore “like to continue searching and developing practices that change those industries.”
In 2025, Karla will graduate from Chico State with a degree in agricultural business and crop science and will return to the Salinas Valley. She will trailblaze bringing organic innovation to row crops and shifting conventional mentalities. “Organic farming can be seen as more difficult, inaccessible, or unprofitable [compared to] conventional farming; therefore, I plan to use my agricultural business degree to show the farming community that organic farming is the solution to both our economy and environmental health.”
Karla sees that the agriculture industry creates a circle of cause and effect and that organic is a positive force. She will complete her own circle by returning to where she started in the Salinas Valley. This time, she will come home with the knowledge to heal our soils, crops, and people, and a vision to refresh old patterns.
To find out more about the Future Organic Farmers grant fund from the CCOF Foundation, please visit our website.