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FWAF is honored as one of the two recipient of the eighth annual Food Sovereignty Prize

International Allies Challenge Corporate Control of the Food System and False Solutions of Biotechnology
Eighth Annual Food Sovereignty Prize
Honors Grassroots Organizations Calling Big Ag’s Bluff


SEATTLE, WA, August, 31 2016 – The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) is pleased to announce the honorees of the eighth annual Food Sovereignty Prize: the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF). The honorees were selected for their success in promoting food sovereignty, agroecology and social justice to ensure that all people have access to fresh, nutritious food produced in harmony with the planet.
Lauded as an alternative to the World Food Prize, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions real solutions to hunger and is recognized by social movements, activists and community-based organizations around the world. The 2016 honorees are strident in their resistance to the corporate control of our food system, including false solutions of biotechnology that damage the planet while exacerbating poverty and hunger. Their programs and policies support small-scale farmers and communities, build unified networks, and prioritize the leadership of food providers, including women, farmworkers, peasants, indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities within the system.
“Hunger is not a technical problem, it’s a political problem,” said John Peck, Executive Director of Family Farm Defenders and US Food Sovereignty Alliance member. “Small farmers have had the solution to hunger for millennia in agroecology and food sovereignty.”
“The Borlaug and Gates Foundations and multinational corporations like Monsanto promote biotechnology because they profit from it. Ask the millions of farmworkers, family farmers and family fishermen feeding their communities what they need and they will tell you: access to land, clean water and their own seeds,” noted Diana Robinson, Campaign and Education Coordinator at the Food Chain Workers Alliance and US Food Sovereignty Alliance member.
About the Honorees
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) was founded in 2008 by a group of activist networks and launched in Durban, South Africa, during the 2011 alternative people's climate summit, organized to counter the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference Of the Parties 17 talks (COP17). AFSA brings together organizations representing smallholder farmers, pastoralists and hunter/gatherers; indigenous peoples; youth, women and consumer networks; people of faith; and environmental activists from across Africa. Together they advocate for community rights and family farming, promote traditional knowledge systems, and protect natural resources. In the face of increased corporate agribusiness interests threatening their food systems, including massive land and water grabs, the criminalization of seed-saving practices, and false solutions to climate change such as so-called "Climate-Smart Agriculture", AFSA unites the people most impacted by these injustices to advance food sovereignty through agroecological practices, policy work and movement-building efforts.
Bern Guri, The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa’s Chairperson, noted, “Africa has a myriad of ways to feed her people and to keep her environment safe. However, a few international corporations from the global North have generated approaches strictly for their own profit by misleading our leaders and our people, stealing our seeds and culture, and destroying our environment.”
For AFSA it is clear that the way forward will allow food producers, supported by consumers, to take control of production systems and markets to provide healthy and nutritious food. Facing the many ecological, economic and social challenges in today’s world requires an urgent transition to agroecology to establish the ecologically sustainable, socially just and nutritious food systems of the future, and it can be done through the collective, inclusive and democratic co-generation of the knowledge held by farmers, consumers, researchers and African governments, who are meant to serve the interests of their (farming) populations.
The Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF), founded in 1986, has a long-standing mission to build power among farmworker and rural low-income communities to gain control over the social, political, workplace, economic, health and environmental justice issues affecting their lives. Their guiding vision is a social environment in which farmworkers are treated as equals, not exploited and deprived based on race, ethnicity, immigrant status, or socioeconomic status. As members of the world’s largest social movement, La Via Campesina, FWAF is building collective power and a unified force for providing better living and working conditions, as well as equity and justice for farmworker families and communities. This includes building leadership and activist skills among communities of color who are disproportionately affected by pesticide exposure/health problems, environmental contamination, racism, exploitation and political under-representation while lifting up women’s wisdom and leadership.
"Farmworker families pay the greatest price in the corporate food system of today. They work in fields of poison and exploitation so that people can easily access cheap foods,” explained Elvira Carvajal, Farmworker Association of Florida's Lead Organizer in Homestead, Florida. “We have a vision to bring together the community around the art of healing with good food and herbs, which is part of our
culture. We practice agroecology in the community by sharing the knowledge we bring from our grandparents, our mothers, our families, our ancestors. The meeting of cultures that happens in the gardens, where we grow our own food without chemicals, and sharing plants and traditions and knowledge across generations is a beautiful thing. I am proud of our own people practicing food and seed sovereignty."
US Food Sovereignty Alliance members Community to Community Development and Community Alliance for Global Justice will host the prize for the first time in the Northwest, welcoming the 2016 Honorees and Alliance partners from across the country to Seattle and Bellingham for several days of activities and actions. The prize ceremony will take place on Saturday, October 15th at 6pm at Town Hall at Eighth and Seneca in Seattle.
For event updates and more information about honorees visit www.foodsovereigntyprize.org, follow the Prize at facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyPrize and join the conversation on Twitter (#foodsovprize).
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About US Food Sovereignty Alliance
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) is a US-based alliance of food justice, anti-hunger, labor, environmental, faith-based and food producer groups that upholds the right to food as a basic human right and works to connect our local and national struggles to the international movement for food sovereignty. The Alliance works to end poverty, rebuild local food economies and assert democratic control over the food system, believing that all people have the right to healthy, culturally appropriate food produced in an ecologically sound manner. Learn more at usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org.

FWAF JOINS BLACK LIVES MATTER MARCH AND CANDLELIGHT VIGIL

The event began Sunday evening at Alonzo Williams Park in Apopka, Florida, where some 150 people gathered in historically Black and farmworker South Apopka to support the neighborhood Black Lives Matter March. Along with many local residents, all ages and races of people - carrying signs and wearing black clothing - stood together in solidarity with the nationwide movement to stop violence against the Black community.

The event began with speeches by various community leaders. The director of Moms Demand Action spoke passionately about getting her organization off the ground with a simple text message chain, reaching out to mothers to come together to work for gun sense for America.

Speaker Carrea Gunn spoke about her SHE’RO and HeRo program that, through using a holistic approach supported by a team of volunteer mental health counselors, empowers young teens, aged 12-18, to lead responsible and productive lives by discussing relevant issues affecting today’s youth.

Pastor Darrell Morgan proclaimed that it was a message from God that inspired him to become involved in the BLM movement, and a representative of Minister Louis Farrakhan brought the leader’s message that the community must look to its roots for strength, unity and empowerment.

Along with the Farmworker Association of Florida was a contingent of supporters from FWAF’s sister organization, the Hope CommUnity Center in Apopka.

Marchers made their way through the heart of the South Apopka chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up; Don’t Shoot” along with other chants. The event culminated in a candle light vigil, where marchers stood in memory of all the Black lives lost due to systemic racism and all committed themselves to stomp out racism and discrimination against all our Black Brothers and Sisters.  

Solidarity With Victims & Their Families

[email protected],  
 
The horrific shooting at Pulse in Orlando has left us all reeling- and heartbroken. The Farmworker Association of Florida deplores this act of violence. Our community in Apopka has lost cousins, children, and fathers, some of our dear friends luckily escaped with minor injuries. We are all heartbroken and trying to work through the surreal feeling that this happened to our community, and that so many lives were lost or changed forever. 
 
We know  the shooting  happened during Pride Month, that there was Latinx Trans talent performing that night, and that the Muslim-American community is reeling from this tragedy along with the Latinx community.
 
This attack did not occur randomly; it was not aimed at the general public. It was aimed at latinx and queer people. 
 
"At moments like this, we are doubly affected. We reject attempts to perpetuate hatred against our LGBTQ communities as well as our Muslim communities. We ask all Americans to resist the forces of division and hatred, and to stand against homophobia as well as against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry."- Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity
 
Equality Florida  has further information on their page to access counseling and blood donation services.

Muchas gracias compañero Alfredo

Alfredo Bahena (Dic.  26, 1961-Abr. 18, 2004) es recordado por la Asociación Campesina de Florida y por su comunidad en Pierson, Florida; por su sinceridad, preocupación, dedicación y compromiso de toda la vida por mejorar las condiciones de trabajo y vida de las trabajadoras y los trabajadores agrícolas en su área y a través del estado. Como Coordinador de Salud y Seguridad de la Asociación Campesina de Florida, Alfredo llevó a cabo muchos entrenamientos de pesticidas y abogó por  mejorar las normas de salud y seguridad para los lugares de trabajo. También ayudó a personas y familias de la comunidad en temas relacionados con: derechos laborales, migración, vivienda, discriminación en las escuelas y lugares de trabajo y cuando hubo desastres naturales. Alfredo además ayudó a establecer la Unión de Crédito y una tienda de comida. Trabajó en colaboración con grupos locales de la comunidad y defendió los derechos de los y las inmigrantes en las reuniones y foros a través de Florida, a nivel nacional e internacional. Alfredo se ganó el respeto de los representantes de las agencias del gobierno y el amor de su comunidad.

Es por estas razones, en el 2004, los legisladores en Tallahassee honraron la memoria de Alfredo con una nueva ley de protección de los trabajadores agrícolas y sus familias a la cual dieron su nombre.


Muchas gracias compañero Alfredo

Day of Peasants and Farmers Struggles – April 17th

Afiche Conferencia Reforma Agraria - copiaApril 17th is an important day in the struggle for food sovereignty. Twenty years ago, 19 members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil were killed during a peaceful action to obtain land for farming and other livelihoods.

Now, every April 17th, social movements and allies around the world mobilize actions and events advocating for food sovereignty and agroecology against the agribusiness model of food production. These actions and events engage the broader society in the process of transforming agriculture in order to end hunger, ensure the production of healthy foods, provide viable livelihoods, and fight for climate justice. As the international peasant movement La Via Campesina says, this is a day to “inspire us to continue to develop our work of denunciation and resistance.”

In this moment, we recognize the violence and the criminalization of grassroots organizations and movements struggling for a better world. Resource extraction and industrial agriculture – and the corporate greed and free-market politics supporting them – threaten solutions to the many crises we face. On this day of Peasants’ and Farmers’ Struggles, we honor the lives and work of activists who have been oppressed or killed defending land, water, and indigenous rights against transnational corporate greed and state violence. We also honor the lives and work of activists who continue these struggles.

On April 7th, MST members Vilmar Bordim and Leomar Bhorbak were killed in an attack by Brazil’s State Military Police and private security forces of the logging company Araupel, in an MST encampment on land that had been declared public by the Brazilian Justice Department. We honor their lives and struggle for land. We also remember the work of Berta Caceres, coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), who was murdered in her home for protecting indigenous lands and waters from destruction and pollution. We also mourn the assassination of Bazooka Rhadebe, Chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee in South Africa, for resisting mining projects on their ancestral lands.

As members of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), we recognize that our current industrial food systems in the US are rooted in structural racism and colonization. We recognize the urgency and responsibility to confront the widespread influence of corporate agribusiness and transnational corporations, many of which are based in the United States. We reject this dominance by US corporations that often comes with political support for repressive and anti-democratic regimes. Within the US, we denounce the devastating policies that have exploited and repressed the working classes, people of color, native peoples, immigrants, and migrant laborers. We work to build solidarity with these communities in the US and across the world.

The United States is now the epicenter of industrial agriculture, and many rural communities are struggling to hold on to their land, their livelihoods, and their health. Over the past 80 years, disastrous free market agribusiness policies that push prices far below a farmer’s cost of production, as well as the spread of monoculture forms of agriculture that require heavy use of pesticides and technology to be economically viable, have left roughly 2.1 million farms in the United States, down from 7 million in 1935. There are as many as 3 million landless farm workers in the United States who face poor wages and are denied basic labor and human rights. Moreover, as older farmers retire over the next 10-20 years, up to 400 million acres of land are expected to change hands, with corporate agribusiness and the banks and investment funds financing them just waiting to acquire it.

The representation of  the number of American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American and African-American farmers and ranchers shows remarkable resilience, growing at a faster rate than White farmers and ranchers (5%, 21%, 10% and 21% respectively, according to the USDA), and reversing earlier declines. Even so, these diverse groups combined  operate only about 7% of the farms in the US, leaving 93% controlled by white operators. Additionally, even though 85% of fruits and vegetables are handpicked by millions of farm workers, the population of skilled farm workers, many of whom were farmers in their places of origin, forced out by bad policy in response to unfair trade deals, remain largely invisible.

In urban spaces, after decades of “redlining” and a long history of institutionalized racism and segregation in American cities, communities of color have been left with little employment, few services, and very limited access to healthy food. Now, mega real-estate developers are buying up land in these cities, displacing communities and literally uprooting the gardens and urban farms that communities created to ensure that families could eat.

The concentration of the commons into corporate hands extends beyond land to our waters as well. Fishermen are facing a rapid privatization and financialization of the fisheries as the “right to fish” is commodified and sold to the highest bidder, opening the floodgates to banks and corporations to buy up massive and exclusive control over the fisheries and the oceans.

On this April 17, the USFSA calls on its member organizations and its allies to organize actions and events for food sovereignty and food justice. At our 3rd Membership Assembly and 5th anniversary as an Alliance, the USFSA strengthened its commitment to building up the power of its grassroots and food producer member organizations in the United States – small farmers, landless farm workers, family fishermen, and urban gardeners – and strengthening ties of international solidarity around the world, to advance food sovereignty and food justice “in the belly of the beast.”

Members of the USFSA and the US Friends of the MST are organizing actions in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Oakland on April 14th, 15th, and 18th, to push for food sovereignty and agrarian reform here and internationally, in solidarity with the social movements in Brazil and around the world. The US Food Sovereignty Alliance calls on its members and allies to organize demonstrations, public discussions and debates, film screenings, farmers’ markets festivals, and other actions of solidarity this April 17th. To share information about your action, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and to learn more, visit www.usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org.

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The US Food Sovereignty Alliance works to end poverty, rebuild local food economies, and assert democratic control over the food system. We believe all people have the right to healthy, culturally appropriate food, produced in an ecologically sound manner. As a US-based alliance of food justice, anti-hunger, labor, environmental, faith-based, and food producer groups, we uphold the right to food as a basic human right and work to connect our local and national struggles to the international movement for food sovereignty.

Images credited to La Via Campesina.

FLORIDA STATE AND UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

FLORIDA STATE AND UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA law students stand on a dock at Lake Apopka, while learning about the effects pesticides have had on the lake and its various animal populations during this year’s alternative spring break event. The lake trip was part of a “Toxic Tour” throughout Apopka with the Farmworker Association of Florida during which the students learned about the history of pesticide use in Florida agriculture and its present-day effects on the agricultural workers and lands in Southwest Florida. The group also trained in Immokalee with Florida Rural Legal Services on various aspects of migrant worker law and met with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force to learn about the current state of trafficking laws in Florida, and how law enforcement is using the law to catch traffickers and protect victims.

Article appreader at Floridabar.org

Statement on the Assassination of Berta Cáceres and Call to Action

150422113110_berta_premio4_624x351_goldmanenvironmentalprize-1.jpgYesterday, at 1am, Berta Cáceres, a Lenca Indigenous woman and an internationally recognized leader, was assassinated in her home. Berta was supposed to be under special protection by the local authorities because of the innumerable death threats that she received. As General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Grassroots and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), Berta Cáceres was an organizer working at the frontlines in the struggle against the expropriation of land and water from her community by the construction of the Agua Zarca hydropower dam project in the Gualcarque River basin, promoted by the company Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA) and financed by foreign investors.

She was a courageous voice in defense of Lenca communities and the struggle for the rights of people and of Mother Earth. During her 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize Award ceremony, Berta shared these words:

“In our worldview, we are beings who come from the Earth, from the water, and from corn. The Lenca people are ancestral guardians of the rivers, in turn protected by the spirits of young girls, who teach us that giving our lives in various ways for the protection of the rivers is giving our lives for the well-being of humanity and of this planet… Let us wake up! We’re out of time. WE must shake our conscience free of the rapacious capitalism, racism and patriarchy that will only assure our own self-destruction.

“Our Mother Earth – militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated – demands that we take action.”

The atrocious crime happened just three months shy of the seventh anniversary of the coup d’état that devastated Honduras and had rippling effects across the American continent. In the first year of the coup, 43 people were killed - half of them were trade union members. Since 2009, there have been over 100 organizers killed, many of them Indigenous Peoples and small scale farmers engaged in nonviolent struggles for land and territory, including Tomás Garcia of COPINH and Margarita Murillo of La Vía Campesina Honduras. Thousands of people left the country, a place considered one of the most unsafe places on Earth. Unaccompanied children travelled alone to find safety in the US, only to be held in makeshift warehouses and deported back to the very place they had fled. At the same, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization for the American States reports that children from 5 to 23 years are receiving military training in Honduras.

The murder of Berta Cáceres is a direct result of the ill-advised US policies for Latin America. It is past time for the US government to recognize that the financial and political support it has provided to the 2009 military coup and to the current Honduran government only fuels abuses by military personnel and the role of death squads against journalists, students and organizers, especially those at the forefront of defending land, territory, and natural resources.  Berta had warned that DESA was once again invading Lenca territories, this time accompanied by private and public armed forces, including the military police called "Tigres" – trained and financed by the United States. Furthermore, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is directly supporting the Agua Zarca project through the USAID MERCADO program.

Besides Berta, other leaders from trade unions and peasant, Indigenous and Afro-descendent organizations are frequent targets of death threats. We ask friends and allies to participate in local actions to demand a prompt and full investigation into the killing of Berta Cáceres. We call on everyone determined to uphold human rights to immediately contact their congressional representatives, advise them that the US support to Honduras and to the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project is destroying democratic rule in Honduras and killing innocent people, and demand an immediate end to such support.

Finally, we support the rightful demands of COPINH and of all Indigenous communities to protect and defend their lands and to prevent unwanted megaprojects in their territory, starting with the Agua Zarca dam project on the sacred Gualcarque River.

In solidarity,

The US Food Sovereignty Alliance, United States

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, United States

Community to Community, United States

Food First, United States

Farmworker Association of Florida

Movement Generation: Justice and Ecology Project, United States

Quotes :

“For decades, Berta Caceres gave everything she had to the causes of true democracy; indigenous power; protection of the earth, the forests, the rivers; rights of women and LGBT individuals; and an end of tyranny by the US government, transnational capital, and Honduran oligarchy. Berta advanced these agendas not only in Honduras, but globally - most recently even in an audience with the Pope. Now, the one thing she did not freely give has been taken from her: her very life. But she is not gone; she lives on in all of us who continue to believe in and work for a just, humane, and ecologically safe world.” – Beverly Bell, Other Worlds

“The assassination of Berta Caceres is a tremendous loss to us, and to all communities who seek justice and dignity. And her murder is an indictment on an insatiable and immoral system – supported by US policies since the 2009 coup – that grabs ancestral lands from indigenous communities, poisons and privatizes waterways and seeks profit above all else.  She stood courageously in the face of mounting threats, knowing the dangers, and with love in her heart, organized to protect the lands and waters of the Lenca people. We mourn with and call on the international community to take action, to bring justice for Berta and to work to continue her legacy.” – Chung-Wha Hong, Grassroots International

¨A Honduran friend who recognizes his Lenca ancestry called me today and declared: They have killed Lempira again. They killed the person carrying the banner of Indigenous Dignity the Highest, Berta Caceres. Lempira was the Lenca leader killed by the Spanish at the time of conquest. I agree: On March 3, 2016 Lempira Was Killed Again. I mourn for our collective loss and the loss of a beautiful, inspirational sister of supreme struggle.¨ - Stephen Bartlett, Agricultural Missions

“Berta was a tenacious leader. She worked tirelessly to bring indigenous and peasant families into international alliances to contain the greed of international capital for local resources. Above all, Berta was a dear friend and a sister in the struggle for many people in Central America and beyond. The loss of Berta Caceres is now our mística, the energy that will unify us and will sustain our struggle for a more just society.” – Saulo Araujo, WhyHunger

”At Grassroots Global Justice Alliance we are saddened and enraged by the murder of our compañera Berta. She stood up fiercely against her government and trans-national corporations, but always grounded in her love for people and the land.  We will continue to live up to the example that she set to fight for land, for life, for dignity, and for happiness!   The US government is as much responsible for her death as the people who invaded her home.  We will not forget the fights Berta has been engaged in, Let's channel her strength and her courage to continue her legacy.” - Cindy Wiesner on behalf of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Opportunities and Threats to Immigrants in Florida's Legislative Sessions

WE SUPPORT:

HB 89: Florida Kidcare Program
Sponsor: Rep. Jose Felix Diaz
SUPPORT: SB 248: Medical Assistance
Funding for Lawfully Residing Children
Sponsor: Senator Rene Garcia
This bill would extend health-care coverage to nearly 17,000 lawfully residing children of immigrants by eliminating the five-year waiting period to be eligible for Florida Kidcare.

WE OPPOSE TO:

CS/HB 9: Reentry into State by Certain Persons
Sponsor: Rep. Carlos Trujillo
This bill would make it a third degree felony to re-enter into the state of Florida after having been deported from the U.S. This would be punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

SB 118: Persons Subject to Final Deportation Orders
Sponsor: Senator Travis Hutson
This bill would make it a first degree felony for a person who has an order of deportation to continue living in the state of Florida, which would be punishable by up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines..

HB 675 / SB 872: Federal Immigration Enforcement
Sponsor: Rep. Larry Metz
Sponsor: Senator Aaron Bean
This bill is attempting to obstruct the power and authority of local governments to protect the civil rights of their communities; would force local governments and law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities at a level that is not mandated or funded by the federal government and may even turn school boards, administrators, teachers into immigration agents; would authorize the Attorney General to sue local governments and officials who do not comply, and would fine localities up to $5,000 per day for not enforcing the policies, and would make local governments vulnerable to civil cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death.

SB 150: Offenses by Illegal Immigrants
Sponsor: Senator Travis Hutson
This bill would enhance the penalties of criminal offenses committed by undocumented immigrants.

HB 563 / SB 750: Temporary Cash Assistance Program
Sponsor: Rep. Matt Gaetz
Sponsor: Senator Travis Hutson
Seeking to penalize mixed status immigrant families, the income of a primary member of the family, who is undocumented, but is not legally eligible to receive benefits must report their income in determining eligibility for the whole family. The impact of this bill would be decreasing the amount of assistance for the whole family.

HB 1095 / SB 1712: Prevention of Acts of War
Sponsor: Rep. Lake Ray
Sponsor: Senator Wilton Simpson
This bill is meant to limit the access to resources of refugees and immigrants in the state. The bill would prohibit state, political subdivisions, agencies &
employees, & persons receiving state funds from assisting refugees and immigrants. It would also require any of these entities offering assistance to submit personal identifying information of refugees and immigrants to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Furthermore, the bill would authorize the Governor and Attorney General to challenge federal laws and regulations encouraging refugee resettlement and directs the Governor and Attorney General to prevent entry into or resettlement in state of certain restricted persons.

Farmworkers at risk every day

Orlando Sentinel Letters to the Editor for February 8, 2016.

Farmworkers at risk every day

The incident of farmworkers being exposed to pesticides from drift in an aerial application on a farm in Belle Glade is only one of the more egregious cases of what happens on a less dramatic scale to farmworkers every day.

Pesticide application in a nursery located at a main road near Homestead in South Florida.

Contrary to some sentiments, farmworkers frequently experience less severe, but equally important, symptoms — skin rashes, headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting — daily. The problem is three-fold: Many farmworkers are not aware that these signs may be related to pesticide exposure; health-care providers are not trained to identify these symptoms in their farmworker patients, and they do not generally take an occupational health history of their clients; and most farmworkers cannot afford to miss a day of work and/or they are too afraid to complain about their health problems for fear of being labeled a troublemaker.

This is not supposition or speculation. This is what we hear almost every day, every week at the Farmworker Association of Florida. In addition, chronic pesticide exposure can lead to serious long-term health problems, even learning disabilities and ADHD in the children of agricultural workers. Regarding workplace violations, farmworkers tell us all the time that growers will have workers clean up a site so that everything is in order when they know there is an inspector coming.

The current ugly anti-immigrant rhetoric today only exacerbates this problem. For everyone who eats, we need to thank farmworkers — documented or undocumented — for feeding us every day at the risk to their health.

Jeannie Economos health and safety coordinator, Farmworker Association of Florida, Apopka

STOP HB675 - STOP "TRUMP EFFECT"

Florida legislators are giving-in to the “Trump Effect” and attacking immigrant families by proposing up to nine (9) hateful laws that separate families and criminalize mothers and fathers.

This Wednesday, the House of Representatives will bring HB675 to a final vote, one of the worst of all the anti-immigrant bills.

HB675 is a Poli-Migra bill. It will make it mandatory for Local Governments, Police and Schools to enforce immigration laws, reporting and holding in detention immigrants ONLY for being undocumented.

HB675 will increase again the deportation of mothers and fathers whose only crime is to be undocumented, work to sustain their families or drive without a license.

HB675 will basically turn Police and Teachers into immigration agents. Immigrant families will fear calling the Police to report crimes or taking their children to school.

HB675 will for local governments to use our taxes to pay for this work because the Federal govt has not assigned funds to it.    

Miami-Dade County Commissioners and Sheriffs in Broward, Hernando, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Pasco Counties had already opted out of doing immigration work because it was wasting their resources in deporting community members and separating families. HB675 will make it mandatory for them to enforce deportation laws again and will allow the state to sue them if they don’t.

We expect our Lt. Governor and all the Latino Representatives to stop this bill and vote against it Representatives Jeanette Nuñez (Chair of the Legislative Hispanic Caucus), Rene Plasencia (Orlando) and Jose Felix Diaz (Chair of the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation), will you defend your community?    

We expect the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation and its Chair, Representative Jose Felix Diaz, to defend their community and respect the leadership of the Miami-Dade County Commission who unanimously passed a resolution opposing this bill on January 20, 2016.

Samples tweets to STOP HB675

Twitter handles for statewide targets:

@LopezCantera, Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez Cantera

@RepJNunez, Rep. Jeanette Nuñez Chair Florida Hispanic Caucus

Miami: @josefelixdiaz Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, Chair Miami-Dade Delegation

Orlando: @CoachP_CHS - Rep. Rene Plasencia

#WeAreFlorida and we say NO to anti-immigrant laws! (insert twitter handle for your Representative or statewide target) stop #HB675 #AltoTrump

#HB675 could turn Police and Teachers into Immigration agents. (insert twitter handle for your Representative or statewide target) stop it! #WeAreFlorida #AltoTrump

#HB675 will deport more immigrants and separate their families! (insert twitter handle for your Representative or statewide target) #WeAreFlorida #AltoTrump

#HB675 will force (insert your County) to use our taxes to separate immigrant families. (insert twitter handle for your Representative or statewide target) VOTE NO!

#WeAreFlorida. (insert twitter handle for your Representative or statewide target), stand with your community! Stop #HB675 and all anti-immigrant laws in #Florida #WeAreFlorida #AltoTrump

We expect (insert twitter handle for your Representative or statewide target) to defend their community and vote against #HB675 #WeAreFlorida

We expect @josefelixdiaz @RepJNunez and the @DadeDelegation to defend their community and vote against #HB675 #WeAreFlorida
#MiamiDade Commissioners oppose #HB675. @josefelixdiaz @RepJNunez @DadeDelegation VOTE NO! #WeAreFlorida

FWAF traveled to Cuba for the V International Encounter on Agroecology, Sustainable Agriculture, and Cooperatives

From November 22 to December 4, 2015, 3 FWAF staff members, along with allies from El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas (CATA), Centro Campesino, Why Hunger, Boricua, and Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON), traveled to Cuba for the V International Encounter on Agroecology, Sustainable Agriculture, and Cooperatives, followed by a training on the Campesino-a-Campesino methodology, organized by the Asociación Nacional de Pequeños Agricultores (ANAP) and La Vía Campesina. In total, 255 delegated from 28 countries participated. FWAF's participation in the convenings was a continuation of the formation process to deepen our understanding and practice of Agroecology with farmworkers communities in Florida, a process which also involves other farmworkers and small farmers organizations that participate in the agroecology Encounter that FWAF hosted in Florida in February of 2015.

Thanks to our community

This holiday season we've been reflecting on past victories as we gear up for 2016. This timeline covers some our big highlights over the years. A more complete look at our history can be found under our three decades complete timeline. (three decades
 
 We have had such success because of support from our communities. So thank you to all our supporters and we look forward to more successes to empower and protect farmworkers in 2016 and for years to come. 

COP 21: Migrant Justice Action: Over 200 Activists March In Solidarity

(Paris, December 9, 2015) Nearly 200 grassroots activists converged and marched, chanted, and sang with colorful banners, posters and outside the Vincennes detention center in Paris where several immigrants are illegally detained by the French government.

The Vincennes detention center where grassroots communities  gathered is of particular significance, as it was the site of an historic uprising after the death of a Tunisian man while in custody in 2008. This uprising brought national attention to the inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees in detention in Paris.

It Takes Roots delegates organized and participated in this march in solidarity with thousands of impacted refugees and migrants, detained by the French government. Local community leaders, members of la Via Campesina and activists working at the intersections of migrant and refugee rights joined our delegation.

This action was in deep solidarity with refugees fleeing situations of grave conflict, and made vital connections between migrant rights, Indigenous rights, gender equality, and climate change.

Key spokespeople at the march highlighted how social and environmental justice are deeply linked, and the largely US delegation expressed their solidarity with migrant rights, especially activists working with immigrant communities along the US-Mexico border, and Indigenous activists, who highlighted how colonialism is not really dead, but alive in new and dangerous ways.

Watch a video highlight of this action!

More photos of the action here

Press release from It Takes Roots

More information here.

Voices of the food chain

Got Food for Thanksgiving? Thank a Farmworker

Honor International Food Workers Week

Without farmworkers, there would be no Thanksgiving harvests to feed the millions of people in the United States today. That is why, during this week, we are recognizing, honoring and thanking the hard-working farmworkers and their families who make our Thanksgiving feasts possible. The people who dig the sweet potatoes, pick the string beans, harvest the corn, cut the cabbage, toss the pumpkins into the trucks, reap and pack all the other fruits and vegetables that grace our tables are doing the work that is necessary to our survival. We depend upon them. Their work is our sustenance.

This week, we are making a special effort to honor and thank farmworkers in Florida and around the country. All year long, we work to get better protections for farmworkers from pesticide exposure. We take actions against cases of wage theft and harassment. We train farmworkers on their rights in the workplace and organize them to participate in issues of concern to them and their families. The community gardens are places for our farmworker members to build community, exchange ideas, pass on knowledge, and find joy and satisfaction. Yet, too many farmworkers still go hungry. There is much more yet to do to achieve equitable and just working conditions for this nation’s farmworkers.  

As members of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the Farmworker Association of Florida celebrates International Food Workers Week with stories about farmworkers who have made a difference in their communities. FWAF staff member, Miguel Zelaya, has worked in every kind of crop grown in Florida. He now dedicates his time to training and empowering other farmworkers in the community to work for social change and economic and social justice.

On Thanksgiving 2015, we hope you will join us in taking a moment on Thanksgiving to give thanks to farmworkers, to let your dinner guests know about the conditions farmworkers face, and to make a commitment to work for justice for farmworkers in 2016 and beyond.

We wish all our friends, allies and supporters a very happy Thanksgiving holiday season.  

Sí, Se Puede!

Nadín Reyes Maldonado at FWAF in Apopka

"This past Friday our Apopka office hosted a speaker who shared her experiences and advocacy around forced disappearances in Mexico. Nadín Reyes Maldonado talked to a group of community members and students about how common these forced disappearances can be, and how they are often blamed on drug cartels. She also shared her personal losses and the risk she takes by speaking against the Mexican government. We applaud her bravery and the invaluable work she does everyday.  We heard many positive comments afterwards from folks just how important it was to tell these stories and to spread this awareness. We honor and respect the tremendous work that they are doing. A Huge Thank you to Witness for Peace Southeast, We stand in solidarity with you!

You can check out their organization here

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