Background image of Alicia Lopez feeds four goats


In their own words: Oregon’s food and farm workers share their stories

Join us for an interactive, bilingual exhibit, Inheritance Stories, featuring the voices of Oregon's Latino food and farm workers

By Lola Milholland and Chris Seigel

“My father was bracero — he was back and forth between United States and Mexico… When my dad was back, he had more than 200 goats… I was walking with the goats all day long, because in Mexico, you need to walk with them to be able to feed them. There is no way to afford feeding them in one place. They eat the grass around the mountains. I loved seeing them eating, the beauty of having babies, the beauty of seeing the little babies jumping around.”

These memories are part of the story that Alicia Lopez, now a Portland resident with her own backyard goat herd, recalls as part of our upcoming exhibit, Inheritance Stories: Latino Voices on Farming, Culture, and Ecology (full schedule below).

Chris Seigel sits smiling and talking into a microphone in a booth

At three Portland-area locations, Ecotrust’s Inheritance Stories will include listening stations featuring ten to fifteen stories, with portraits by photographer Nolan Calisch. Immerse yourself in these honest, personal stories and add your own voice at the pop-up story booth, which will be available on the last day of each exhibit.

To identify our storytellers, we partnered with Radio Movimiento of Woodburn. Founded by PCUN, farmworker union and Oregon’s largest Latino organization, this partnership allows us to record and share stories in both Spanish and English. Storytellers include food and farm workers, organizers, chefs, educators, entrepreneurs, and gardeners. We hope their voices add new dimensions to the portrait of Oregon’s food culture.

“My grandma used to take the avocados, used to take the tomatoes, used to take the onions and garlic, and then start crushing all the different elements as if it was a ritual — a sort of a spiritual gathering of these experiences we had — into one small molcajete.” –Octaviano Merecias-Cuevas

Inheritance Stories is a project of Ecotrust’s podcast, Underground Airwaves, where we seek to bring voices from the food and farming landscape into the public sphere. We have been deeply inspired by the work of Hacienda CDC to build the Portland Mercado, a cultural center that draws people through food and exposes them to the diversity and vibrancy of the Latino community, and are overjoyed to launch the exhibit in their space on Thursday, October 8.

We invite you to join us as the exhibit traverses Portland and Woodburn. Bring a friend, take a moment, sit down, and enter someone else’s world. Stories and photos will be available at and through iTunes and Stitcher beginning in November.

Join us

October 8–11 , 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily
October 11, 1–5 p.m. pop-up storytelling booth
Portland Mercado
7238 SE Foster Road
Portland, OR 97206

October 22–25, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily
October 25, 1–5 p.m. pop-up storytelling booth
721 NW 9th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

November 5, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
November 6 and 7, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
November 8, 1–5 p.m. (with pop-up storytelling booth)
Woodburn Public Library
280 Garfield Street
Woodburn, OR 97071

Thank you

Hacienda CDC, Portland Mercado, Woodburn Public Library, Radio Movimiento 95.9 FM Woodburn, Milagro

Thank you, too, to artists Nolan Calisch and Nina Montenegro and producer Abel Valladares.