Aloha Redland Farm
Alicia del Aguila and Martina Gonzalez
Alicia del Aguila and Martina Gonzalez are the driving forces behind Aloha Redland Farm in Homestead, Florida. The women-led farm was one of last year’s Brighter Future Fund grant recipients and we caught up with them to learn how they used that money on better tools and improvements around their land.
Alicia takes pride in her arts background but found her calling at a community garden that she tended. On the other hand, Martina grew up surrounded by trees, open space, and lively stories of her grandfather—a dairy farmer. Although the farmer-spouses come from different backgrounds, they bring to the farm unique perspectives and expertise.
When the opportunity to manage Aloha Redland Farm presented itself, they gradually incorporated their passions, like art and cooking, while often encouraging their community to gather for events and retreats.
Alicia and Martina grow produce on a five-acre, biodiverse garden where they practice permaculture principles—a holistic process used to improve soil, conserve water and redirect waste streams. It’s an ethics-based process inspired by nature’s relationship to itself. In other words, Alicia and Martina focus on the health of the soil rather than the garden’s yield.
“We respond to whatever the needs of our gardens may be, with creativity and gratitude to work with nature,” Alicia says of the farm. “And we remember to constantly cultivate biodiversity.”
Together with American Farmland Trust, Tillamook launched the Brighter Future Fund to support farmers like Alicia and Martina who harness their holistic approach in farming for their community—all while trying to stay ahead of the increasing challenges due to climate change. Farming in a hurricane zone brings added risk to the property and extreme weather in the South means the constant threat of flooding and erosion, as well as destruction to the land and trees.
With the Brighter Future Fund, Aloha Redland Farm has plans to revamp its irrigation system and add a more permanent wash station that won’t blow away during a hurricane. Alicia and Martina have also set impressive infrastructure goals and aim to plant the entire property with bio-diverse crops. They have already invested in tools like battery-powered chainsaws and several truckloads of mulch to protect their soil. Martina excitedly says, “We have plans to plant more varieties around our fruit trees. We want to grow tons more turmeric, ginger, and pineapples all over the farm.” Investing in more resilient systems for extreme weather conditions will help Aloha Redland Farm continue to expand and incorporate nature, art, and community in everything they do.
In only three years, the farm’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership has grown from 15 to 75 members. As they make their life on the land together, they want their community to have access to healthy produce and to enjoy learning about the foods that grow seasonally around them. Alicia encourages the members to try new recipes and responds to any questions they may have about Aloha Redland and their farming practices.
The farming community needs our help more than ever. Here are three ways you can help:
Shop the All for Farmers Marketplace on Food52.com, you can support the All for Farmers Coalition which is helping protect the future of farming for generations to come. For more stories and updates, follow along on social with @Tillamook.
Purchase Tillamook products because when you buy Tillamook cheese, you’re backing our farmer values and supporting our efforts to protect farms and the future of farming.