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FWAF help empowers community members.

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.

Safer Farmworkers, Families and Food Campaign Launched in Washington, D.C.

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 Urge More Pesticide Regulations

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.

TWITTER STORM TODAY FOR FARMWORKER PROTECTIONS!

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

Farmworkers Come to Capitol Hill Seeking Safeguards

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.

Day of Prayer - Día de Oración

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Click on the mages to download the flyers. Click en la imágenes para descargar el volante.

Fellsmere Community Garden

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.

Download the article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Works the Fields?

"The Farmworker Association of Florida would like to share this report recently released by our friends at Farmworker Justice.  This report includes interviews from farmworkers in Florida and members of FWAF." Please, click the image to download the report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Farmworker Association is a member of La Via Campesina

"The Farmworker Association is a member of La Via Campesina and participated in the recent meeting in Indonesia"

La Vía Campesina

Movimiento Campesino Internacional / International Farmers Movement

Resolution on Migrant Rights at the 6th International Conference Working Group on Migrations and Climate

Jakarta, Indonesia, June 12, 2013

The new expressions of the capitalism through the promotion of the green economy and development is and will be unable to stop the consequences of climate crisis that exacerbate the migration crisis itself. The manifestations of climate chaos (prolonged droughts, floods, avalanches, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.), which each time become more frequent, have already been responsible for ¼ of the involuntary global migration, estimated at 210 million of people. The impending food and water crises as a direct result of the climate crisis, will in turn cause even more widespread community displacement and forced internal migration.
  • Immigration policy reform efforts in the U.S. and anywhere else, should repeal criminalization practices including border militarization, detentions, deportations etc., and include legalization and equal protection of all immigrants as well as address the future flows of migrants who have been displaced for whatever reason.
  • Repeal all Free Trade Agreements, especially those that have been impacting our common goods, rural communities and indigenous people. Implementation of Food Sovereignty to contest the control of the food system, land and resource grabs by national and international corporations. 

FARM BILL NEGOTIATIONS TO HAVE DIRECT IMPACT ON FWAF’S WORK

Critical Amendments, including the Udall Amendment, bring greater fairness to the Farm Bill
Urgent! Need your support now!
With support from the Outreach and Technical Assistance Program of the USDA, the Farmworker Association of Florida, and its partners, the Rural Coalition, National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, have for over three years been conducting outreach and training to Latino, African American and other small farmers in Florida, and connecting farmers in the region to critical markets.  Through our shared work, more and more Latino farmers are getting access to USDA programs, including disaster assistance, and together we have worked to start community gardens in the communities of Apopka, Pierson, Fellsmere and Homestead and to assure producers have the services that they need(See below for what you can do now to help!)
During the past 6 months, our staff members in the state have reached out to more than 600 families and more and more are beginning to learn about the important training and services they need to enter agriculture as farmers and to support economic development and healthy food production in their communities.  
We also know that veteran producers are an important constituency in the state, and that with the addition of veteran farmers to the historic outreach and assistance program for socially disadvantaged producers, funding needs to be increased, not cut in half, as it has been in the bill S. 954 as it now stands.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
 
  1. CALL the Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators' offices.  
WHEN YOU ARE CONNECTED TO THE OFFICE, ASK for the name and email of the Agriculture Legislative Assistant for your Senator and to speak to them.  Please leave a message if they are not available.

TELL THEM: "I support and ask you to also support equity amendments to the Senate Farm Bill, including  Senator Udall's (NM) amendments #1055 training for socially disadvantaged and Veteran Producers Training, Amendment #1045 Receipt for Service, #1048 community irrigation, and #1049 EQIP Irrigation Water Saving and others.
Tell them you are especially anxious that the Outreach and Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers, a critical program in our state, receive adequate funding of $17 M as in the Udall amendment #1055.  

Thank them for their critical assistance in assuring the producers have a real chance to access all the resources in the Farm bill and the amendments listed help assure that can happen. 

Fellsmere Community Farm Project

Fellsmere Community Farm Project, Fla: Edible Cactus & More

More information at this blog Helen A. Lockey

Fellsmere Community Farm Project helps low-income Florida farm workers eat better. Located in Indian River County, this four-year old cooperative with the City of Fellsmere has two sites that grow many types of vegetables including edible cactus.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

FWAF is sharing this from our Sisters and Brothers at the United Farm Workers, as we are all working together for a comprehensive immigration reform that will give farmworkers in the U.S. a pathway to citizenship.

UFW News Release 5/21/13:
Bipartisan immigration reform bill passes in the Senate Judiciary Committee clearing the first major hurdle

Benefiting from a nationwide push for humane immigration laws by farm workers and their allies, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved the immigration reform legislation officially known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) by more than a 2-to-1 margin.


More information here

 

Rompiendo el Silencio

The Justicia Ahora Project 2013

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