Steve grew up in Lima, Peru. His father worked for Shell Oil, and his mother is from Peru. He came to the United States at age 14. Growing up in Lima, his family went almost daily to a year-round, outdoor market. Chicken and hogs were butchered on site, and there were plentiful fruits and greens. Everything was organic and local. After moving to the U.S., he shopped at farmers’ markets. Steve thinks that food should come from places close to home.
In early 2014, Steve heard about Our Table through an Oregon Public Broadcasting documentary. Steve found OTC at the Wilsonville Farmer’s market, and joined the CSA. He became a member out of nostalgia for the markets of his childhood, and a strong belief in local food. As he said, “Now I don’t have to wait for the Saturday farmers’ market, or go to New Seasons. I know the people who grow my food, and where it comes from.”
The educational aspect of Our Table’s vision is very important to Steve. “Our Table is trying to accomplish a cultural change. Co-ops and farmers markets are all over, but Our Table is above and beyond. They walk the talk. The workers show palpable excitement for what they do. Members will get dividends. If you come to Board meetings, you can see how the farm works. The Dynamic Governance method, which all employees participate in, is amazing and empowering; all are active participants. I wish a lot of companies worked like this. People are more motivated.”
Steve has thought deeply about the connection between food and his values. “I’m a spiritual person but not religious…It is important to care for the land. I don't have the luxury to grow my food, this is the next best thing. To me, Our Table Farm is church. It feeds me, and feeds my soul. Seeing things grow out of earth is spiritual.”
“I’m learning the value and importance of community. The Farm to Table dinners brings full circle the experience of community. When you sit with like minded people, at first they are strangers, but we leave as friends.”