Centro Campesino is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of members of the Latino and migrant communities.

We serve communities in southern Minnesota through community organizing, education, and advocacy.



Ernesto Velez – Executive Director

Ernesto Velez has close to 10 years of experience on community organizing and activism. He led the Immigrant Empowerment Project initiatives and activities for the years 2004-2010. He began doing development and grant work since 2008 and successfully getting Centro Campesino up to $150,000 dollars in grants and contributions.

He has taken on the work of the Justice program and is combining the project efforts into one program. His work has connected Centro Campesino with national groups working for fair immigration reform and worker’s justice. He is currently a student at Minnesota State University, Mankato and he is about to complete his undergraduate degree in Political Science.

His academic and organizing skills are essential for the growth and success of our projects.

Finally, Ernesto began taking executive responsibilities early on 2011 according to a transition plan and served as Interim Executive Director from July to December 2011 and now with a couple years of experience and maturity he’ll be closing three years as executive director of Centro Campesino.


Noris Hemingway, Community Organizer

Noris carries with her over eighteen years of administration, human resource and project management experience. Noris is originally from Venezuela where she has earned a degree in accounting and marketing. She has been living and working in Minnesota for over a decade.

Noris has great project management and administrative skills that fit in perfectly with Centro Campesino’s overall mission. Noris has the initiative to complete projects ands get things done.

During her time at Centro Campesino she has collected well over $25,000 in donations and small grants. Some of the donors Noris has worked with include Allina, U-Care, the Minnesota Twins and the University of Minnesota. Recently, Noris participated in and graduated from the “Organizing Apprenticeship Project of 2014”.

She also completed the Blandin Foundation’s “Leadership in Ethnically Diverse Communities” program.


Gloria Contreras, Health Coordinator

Gloria has been the Health Program Coordinator for over eleven years and she continues to carry out the program activities with part-time and seasonal Health Promoters.

Gloria originally worked with a migrant health program for the University of Minnesota where she received training on health promotion.

Gloria received a Community Health Worker Diploma from Mankato South Technical College in 2005.

Gloria has lead a team of Health Promoters over the past years in creating education and outreach among migrant and immigrant Latinos, making for a healthier southern Minnesota..


Melinda Rodriguez, Youth College Asset Coordinator

As a former migrant agricultural worker Melinda completely knows and understands the barriers that migrant students face in order to graduate from High School, whether in Minnesota or the their “home state”.


Immigration Services

Legal Permanent Resident renewal (LPR) – Forms I-90


N-400 screening

Citizenship Guidance

Voter registration


FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

ACT Practice

Career Counseling

College Preparation


Health Promotion

Blood Pressure

Sugar Levels



Wage Theft Case Work

Workers Compensation

Case Work

Centro Campesino, Inc.

216 N. Oak Ave. Owatonna MN 55060
Phone: (507) 446-9599
Fax: (507) 446-1101

PO Box 525
Owatonna, MN 55060

(507) 446-9599