We celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8th) with an intergenerational story about Nancy Armenta, her work, and her agricultural heritage. Nancy is a seed breeder for Mission Ranches, the farming division of Earthbound Farm. She works with traditional seed breeding methods to develop new varieties of organic greens for Earthbound Farm. As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: Nancy’s father, Jose Armenta, is a tractor supervisor for Mission Ranches and has been for decades. Nancy even grew up in a house on one of the ranches. With all that nature and nurture combined, Nancy was bound to develop a love for growing food. Like Little Richard sang, “The girl can’t help it.”
Traditional seed breeding requires skill and patience (genetic engineering is forbidden in organic farming). It can take 10 years or more to cross plants and achieve the variety you’re after. Varieties are crossed (bred together) using tiny tools to physically transfer pollen from one parent to another parent (by hand) to try to produce the desired characteristics in a new variety.
For a look inside that world, meet Nancy. We hope you appreciate her enthusiasm for her work and love for her father. And that, like Nancy, you see that the possibilities are endless.