Rosa was born in Santiago Juxtlahuaca, and is proud to speak Mixteco Alto, her native language. Since she immigrated to the United States more than 20 years ago, she has raised four children and worked in the fields, yet still made time to be involved in a number of community organizing activities. She spearheaded the foundation of the folkloric group See Savi to teach young people the music and traditional dances of Oaxaca. Joined by other Mexican and Hmong indigenous women, Rosa lead a grassroots organizing group aimed at highlighting the presence and contributions of immigrant women throughout the Central Valley.
Silvia Rojas, a native of Santiago Tiño Mixtepec, has lived in the U.S. since the age of 17. The married mother of five worked in the fields of the Central Valley harvesting crops like onion, garlic and strawberries. When her first child was born, Sylvia stopped working to focus on her daughterâs care and education. Besides raising her children, Sylvia love to engage in the community. She participated in the folkloric group See Savi, first as a dancer and then as a member of the organizing committee. In 2013, she successfully completed a cultural organizing fellowship program coordinated by the Pan Valley Institute of the American Friends Services Committee.
Realizing that the demands of farm labor left them little time for family responsibilities or the community organizing they felt so passionate about, Rosa and Silvia sought other options for generating income. They began focusing their efforts and resources on putting into practice their knowledge of traditional, authentic Mixteco dishes. After a year of hard work, planning and training, Colectivo Sabor a Mi Tierra opened its doors in Madera on May 8, 2014.
Rosa and Silvia hope that Colectivo will not only help generate a modest income, but that their experience will inspire other immigrant women to put their indigenous knowledge and skills to good use. They want to see the food prepared at Colectivo bring immigrants close to the flavors from home, and offer the opportunity for others to enjoy the unique flavors of the simple, yet nutritious dishes they prepare.