Article taken from NewAmericaMedia
Most media coverage of immigration today accepts as fact claims by growers that they can't get enough workers to harvest crops. Agribusiness wants a new guest worker program, and complaints of a labor shortage are their justification for it. But a little investigation of the actual unemployment rate in farmworker communities leads to a different picture.
There are always local variations in crops, and the number of workers needed to pick them. But the labor shortage picture is largely a fiction. I've spent over a decade traveling through California valleys and I have yet to see fruit rotting because of a lack of labor to pick it. I have seen some pretty miserable conditions for workers, though.
THE UNSAFE ACT: What It Means To Immigrant Communities
Taken from buzzfeed.com
The SAFE Act was introduced in June 2013 by the House of Representatives’ Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) with the support of the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). If enacted, the SAFE Act’s single-minded focus on immigration enforcement will increase in detentions and deportations, and create an environment of rampant racial profiling and unconstitutional detentions without fixing the immigration system’s problems. Below is a list of the terrible things that would come from the SAFE Act.
One day, monsanto will not exist anymore. One day those who work the land and produce our food will have their own community land to work and multiply the seeds as we see the stars in a clear night, and that day there will be nobody, no corporation and nothing to prevent it. To fight Monsanto is fighting to preserve diversity, is fighting for life, is to strive for providing enough healthy food for everyone, is fighting for the freedom of the peasants. We have received good news that little steps have been done to stop Monsanto Protection Act.
On Sunday, September 22, 2013, twenty-six community members participated in workshops at the Apopka Community Garden, organized by the Farmworker Association of Florida, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, and the Big Potato Foundation. One workshop, led by Homegrown Delights' Tia Meer, was focused on basic organic gardening tips, such as garden bed preparation and maintenance, seed-saving, transplanting, and pest management.
The Palm Beach Post Coverage of all the activities conducted with the Remember November Caravan yesterday in Lake Worth (canvassing to businesses, homes, churches, a march and a Vigil). Thank you to all who contributed to this successful day!
Covertura del Palm Beach Post de todas las actividades de ayer como parte de la Caravana Campesina en Lake Worth (tocando negocios, casas e iglesias; una marcha y una vigilia). Gracias a todas las organizaciones y personas que contribuyeron a este exitoso evento!
View the embedded image gallery online at:
The Farmworker Association of Florida was a part of an important event in Immokalee at which 1,400 backpacks were given to farmworker families in the community by Lipman farms. There were games for children play and hot dogs for lunch!
It was a very exciting day for all children that attended. FWAF was there to distribute information to the community about the work that we do and to share educational materials on health and safety and worker rights. We are so happy to have been part of such event for the community to do outreach and education that help empower community members.
Farmworkers from around the country are spoke out about the need for improved protections from pesticide exposure in their workplaces.
“There were times when we would see our coworkers that would start having hives and itching in the skin, with swollen hands, with headaches and sneezing; we all confused these symptoms with a common cold. It would just be left as that; we didn’t receive any information and if we asked we wouldn’t receive any answers,” said Miguel Zelaya, a farmworker, a father, and a part organizer for the Farmworker Association of Florida. “Our co-workers’ kids would play close to the fields that had been sprayed without any precaution. No one knew of the dangers of pesticides,” he said.
From the Farmworker Association in Florida, Ofelia from Homestead, Miguel and his daughter, Selena, from Central Florida have joined other farmworkers and allies visiting Washington, D.C. this week to call on Congress to protect the health of farmworkers and their families by strengthening the Worker Protection Standard regulations. These rules were established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set agricultural worker safety standards for pesticide use, but have not been updated or revised for more than 20 years, despite overwhelming evidence of their inadequacy.
The nation’s 1-2 million farmworkers form the backbone of the U.S. agricultural economy and many are regularly exposed to pesticides. The federal government estimates that there are 10,000-20,000 acute pesticide poisonings among workers in the agricultural industry annually, a figure that likely understates the actual number of acute poisonings since many affected farmworkers may not seek care from a physician.
“The continued neglect of farmworker protections by our regulatory bodies is unacceptable. After a significant number of cases and evidence of the serious health impacts farmworkers face by pesticide poisoning, it’s time for the Environmental Protection Agency to fully enforce established regulations and farmworker protections,” said Hector Sanchez, Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and head of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda .
Farmworkers and their advocates are on Capitol Hill Tuesday pushing for tougher federal rules for pesticide application and worker protection in America’s fields.
Regulations for pesticide use and safety haven’t changed in twenty years.
In 2004, several women who had worked in tomato fields in Florida while they were pregnant delivered babies with birth defects. Farmworker advocates said improper exposure to pesticides was likely the cause.
Jeanne Economos with the Farmworker’s Association of Florida said enforcement of current rules governing pesticide application and exposure is lax.
“We have 39 inspectors that are responsible for about 40 thousand agricultural operations in the state,” Economos said. “And we find of lots of violations of the current existing worker protections.”
Economos said improper exposure to pesticides harms 10 to 20 thousand agricultural workers every year…the people who harvest America’s food.
“I want to people to know that every time they pick up an orange, or pick up a tomato in their local grocery store they are not aware of it but they are being directly connected to the farmworker that harvested that food,” she said. “The people that harvested that food are putting their lives at risk through pesticide exposure and other hazards so we can have food to eat.”
The Environmental Protection Agency writes the rules. The state of Florida is charged with enforcing them.
Farmworkers all around the country need your support today as we launch the Safer Food, Farmworkers and Families campaign to work for better protections from pesticide exposure for farmworkers in the United States.
Today and tomorrow on Capitol Hill, a dozen farmworkers from across the nation are meeting with their members of Congress to call for the implementation of stronger protections for farmworkers from hazardous pesticides. An estimated 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops annually in the United States, and farmworkers face the greatest threat from these chemicals than any other sector of society, with thousands of farmworkers each year experiencing pesticide poisoning.
These rules were established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set agricultural worker safety standards for pesticide use, but have not been updated or revised for more than 20 years, despite overwhelming evidence of their inadequacy.
You can help by joining the Twitter Storm today and by tweeting for farmworkers. Sample tweets below. From the Farmworker Association of Florida and farmworkers in Florida, thank you for your support!
@whitehouse EPA estimates 10,000-20,000 #farmworkers are poisoned on the job due to #pesticide exposure annually #FendForFarmworkers
Keep the #CesarChavez fight alive! Tell @EPAgov to enforce protections against #pesticides #FendForFarmworkers
@whitehouse What do Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer have in common? They are all linked to #pesticide exposure #FendForFarmworkers
@whitehouse #Children are the most vulnerable to harmful #PesticideDrift effects; tell @EPAgov to enforce protections to keep kids safe!
@whitehouse The nation’s 1-2 million farmworkers are exposed to acute levels of #pesticides Keep all workers safe! #FendForFarmworkers
@whitehouse Equal workers rights means equal protection but sadly #women R 2 X likely 2 suffer #pesticide sickness #FendForFarmworkers
Two-day event will highlight hazards farmworkers face from pesticide exposure
On Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16 more than a dozen farmworkers, their allies and advocates from across the nation will be meeting with their members of Congress to call for the implementation of stronger protections for farmworkers from hazardous pesticides. An estimated 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops annually in the United States, and farmworkers face the greatest threat from these chemicals than any other sector of society, with thousands of farmworkers each year experiencing pesticide poisoning.
More than a dozen farmworkers, including three farmworkers from the Farmworker Association of Florida, their allies and advocates will be meeting with a range of Congressional and agency officials about the need to strengthen the Worker Protection Standard regulations. These rules were established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set agricultural worker safety standards for pesticide use, but have not been updated or revised for more than 20 years, despite overwhelming evidence of their inadequacy.
Since 2010 community members from Fellsmere led by organizers of the Farmworkers Association of Florida and with collaboration of the city of Fellsmere and Kellogg Foundation, have established a community garden in which they learn to grow organic vegetables for their own consumption. You can find more information in this recent article published in a local newspaper or by contacting the area office at (772)571-0081.
- The Farmworker Association is a member of La Via Campesina
- La Vía Campesina
- FARM BILL NEGOTIATIONS TO HAVE DIRECT IMPACT ON FWAF’S WORK
- Fellsmere Community Farm Project