David Cantu and Maya Sanchez: Helping Neighbors Grow (and Sell!) Their Own Food

Today’s guests are doing innovative agriculture work that is deeply rooted in history in their small town of San Elizario, Texas. David Cantu and Maya Sanchez are two local government leaders who have helped spearhead projects to encourage San Elizario residents to grow food for themselves and food to sell—all tailored to their unique desert environment. They’re tapping into historical knowledge of what plants grow best in these conditions and hoping other desert-dwellers can learn from this, too.  

These efforts are particularly meaningful in a border town where almost half of the population lives below the poverty line. These are opportunities to grow food in backyards and gardens to feed one’s family, and this program has also helped residents grow produce to sell to local restaurants and stores, or turn into other food businesses, themselves. 

David Cantu is an alderperson and Maya Sanchez in the City Administrator for San Elizario. Both are very active in their city, in this agricultural initiative, and in their own gardens, too. 

We interviewed Cantu and Sanchez for an article back in 2020, and, as you’ll hear in this interview, since that time they’ve helped more of the community be involved in growing food, connected these efforts with flood mitigation goals, and even had the chance to sell locally grown produce to neighboring cities.

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