A grassroots, environmental justice organization based in San Francisco’s Mission District

Alex Samayoa

Alex Samayoa is an immigrant from El Salvador. He found out about PODER through the Arizmendi Co-op Bakery that opened in the Mission District in 2010.

One of the workers referred him to PODER’s Community Organizer, Oscar Grande, who recruited him to the organization’s Urban Action Institute. The Institute, an intensive two-month political education program, covered urban planning, environmental justice and cooperatively-owned and run housing and gardens.

“I was exposed to a lot of great people in the community and the values of urban gardens and the possibility of growing our own vegetables and herbs,” says Alex.

Through his continued participation in PODER’s Action Team, Alex was among the core members of the Maya Luna co-op catering service. He helped negotiate a new lease for the co-op’s commercial kitchen and worked on filing business permits with the City.

“This experience has really helped me become a better leader by working with others,” he says “I want other upcoming co-ops to harness our momentum and learn from us so as to make a society we can strive for more.”

“I want to be a part of the big picture. Maya Luna is offering the opportunity for people to be a part of a job that allows them to live in their city, educate their kids, and dream the big dreams that change history.”