A path cuts through a lush green community garden

Oral History: Nancy Ortiz-Surun

Nancy Ortiz-Surun Introduction

Interview Date: September 10, 2022

Profession: Teacher

Birthplace: Bronx, New York

A person in a black t-shirt and sunglasses poses outdoors for a photo

Nancy Ortiz-Surun was born and raised in the Bronx, the daughter of a proud Puerto Rican family of matriarchs, one of whom, her mother, was the proprietor of a storied florist shop in the Bronx. A graduate of both Lehman College and City College, Nancy worked for many years as a teacher with the New York City Department of Education. Nancy’s interest in the kitchen started with her desire to learn how to bake traditional Puerto Rican desserts, but as she grew older, Nancy learned to make dishes from other cultures represented in the Bronx.

In addition to her work as a teacher and her participation in the founding and organizing of La Finca del Sur, Nancy is an accomplished multi-media artist and an adoring mother and grandmother. She has participated in dialogues with other farmers and activists across the Bronx and the United States and is a respected leader in her community. Nancy’s work raises up the role of women, especially Latina and Black women, in both community activism and in gardening.

Nancy Ortiz-Surun

Full Length Video