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Conexión: Latinx land steward in Maine says farming is a way to heal, connect with others

When Heather Flor Cron pulls weeds, sets up tomato vines or harvests herbs at a farm in Portland, Maine, she’s reaching back and connecting with her abuela.

“Her connection to the land was so important to her upbringing and her life” in rural Peru, Cron says.

Eventually, her abuela made it to New England to live with Cron and her mom. And although they never had their own land to farm in Maine, Cron remembers the love language of their home: connecting through food and daily home-cooked meals.

“Food was … how I learned about community, how I learned about sharing, how I learned about love.”

As the coronavirus pandemic hit, Cron started working on a food brigade with Presente! Maine, a nonprofit that supports the Latinx community in Southern Maine. That work ultimately led to the formation of the Presente! farm. Although she had no specialized agriculture experience, Cron started farming for her community. In the process, her roots in Maine have grown deeper.

“I love the idea of not just wanting my community to survive,” Cron says, “but thrive.”

This is the first video in Conexión: Rooted in New England's Outdoors, a weekly video series this fall from the New England News Collaborative.

Haz clic aquí para leer y ver esta historia en español.

Daniela Allee contributed to this story.

Raquel Zaldívar is a bilingual visual journalist at the New England News Collaborative, where she produces visual stories and collaborates with journalists throughout the New England region.