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The 33rd National Pesticide Forum Florida

This year’s conference will focus on agricultural justice, including the impact of pesticide use on human health and the environment, particularly as it relates to farmworker protections and organic agriculture. Biodiversity, pollinator protection, and other relevant issues for central Florida, including West Nile virus, pesticides in schools and hospitals, and genetic engineering will also be covered. Register here

635 Page Petition Delivered to EPA on Cesar Chavez’s Birthday

Cesar Chavez fasted for 36 days in 1988 to bring awareness to the health impacts on farmworkers from exposure to toxic chemical pesticides. Twenty-seven years later, the struggle for pesticide health and safety of farmworkers continues, even as increasing scientific studies link pesticide exposure to a host of health and environmental problems.

In honor and commemoration of Cesar Chavez’s birthday on March 31, a coalition of organizations – including the Farmworker Association of Florida - delivered a 635 page petition with over 21, 000 signatures to the Environmental Protection Agency demanding that the agency not delay any longer in issuing a stronger Worker Protection Standard to enact stronger regulations to better protect farmworkers from occupational exposure to pesticides.


From left to right, Hector Sanchez (LCLAA, NHLA), Bruce Goldstein (Farmworker Justice), Andrea Delgado (EarthJustice), Jorge Ramos (LCLAA), and Chelly Richards (Farmworker Justice)

Thanks to our allies at Pesticide Action Network for hosting the online petition and compiling all the petition signatures, and thanks to our collaborators at Farmworker Justice, Earthjustice, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), for meeting with EPA officials and hand delivering all 635 printed pages of the petition to the EPA and for representing the other organizations in the coalition who could not be in D.C. in person.  

The official public comment period on the proposed WPS closed on August 18, 2014. The petition delivered yesterday demands that EPA issue the new regulations no later than August 18th of this year. One year is enough! Twenty-seven years is too long! Every day that the EPA delays in issuing stronger WPS protections, farmworkers’ health and lives are put at risk, just so that the rest of us can have a plentiful supply of food to eat. Protecting farmworkers is the right thing to do. Yesterday, the EPA heard that message loud and clear!

Thanks to everyone who signed the petition!


Foto: From left to right, Hector Sanchez (LCLAA, NHLA), Bruce Goldstein (Farmworker Justice), Andrea Delgado (EarthJustice), Jorge Ramos (LCLAA), and Chelly Richards (Farmworker Justice)

National Farmworker Awareness Week, March 24 - 31

National Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW) is a week of action for students, supporters, and community members to raise awareness about farmworker issues on school campuses, in churches, in organizations, and in communities all around the country. In 2015 we celebrate the 16th Annual National Farmworker Awareness Week to raise awareness about farmworker conditions, to take action in support of better living and working conditions for farmworkers, and to honor their important contributions to us every day!

The Farmworker Association of Florida is one of the sponsors of NFAW Week this year, as in years past. Several events are planned on college campuses and in our communities in Florida, which will culminate in a statewide day of action at the state capital on the birthday of Cesar Chavez – March 31st.

NFAW is an opportunity to raise our voices to demand stronger health and safety protections for farmworkers who risk their health so that we can have food to eat. Farmworkers need to be protected from pesticide exposure and the Environmental Protection Agency is in a position to make a significant difference in the lives of farmworkers in the future. Join us in sending a message to EPA and to others around the country for stronger a Worker Protection Standard.  

Join us in tweeting! (Suggested tweets!) Tweet today and all week long.

Each day during NFAW highlights a specific issue of importance to farmworkers.

Tuesday March 24 | Living Conditions
Wednesday March 25 | Pesticides and Health
Thursday March 26 | Education
Friday March 27 | Community
Saturday March 28 | Living Wages
Sunday March 29 | Rights
Monday March 30 | Solidarity
Tuesday March 31| Family

Farmworkers Feed the World! Protect Farmworkers!

Statement of the meeting of Agroecology “Campesino a Campesino”

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The Agroecology Encuentro in Florida in February was a powerful gathering for social justice and agricultural transformation that brought together diverse people from the Americas with a goal of defining new ways of food production, ensuring worker and community justice, demanding food sovereignty, and implementing ecological protection and restoration.  The result of the week-long Encuentro was a declaration of a set of principles and positions that were decided on by consensus of the group.  You can read the Declaration of the 1st U.S. Agroecology Encuentro here.  (English / Spanish)  The energy and the commitment of Encuentro participants and the partner organizations is moving the Encuentro to the next phase, which includes the deep community work around community gardens in four key areas in Florida.

The Agroecology Encuentro

Click the image to see our gallery

The Encuentro was held by the Farmworker Association of Florida in Fellsmere and Florida City areas, linking local and international social movements.  Fellow U.S. La Via Campesina member organizations - Rural Coalition, National Family Farm Coalition, and Border Agricultural Workers Project, together with our organization- are engaged at various levels in agroecological processes and support this encounter. The goal of the pilot Encuentro is to support further development of LVC North America regional agroecology principles and to build capacity through campesino-led agroecology processes that are centered on campesino organizing and knowledge sharing,and that are designed to meet the needs of farmers, farmworkers, women, and youth in rural communities across the South East.
Agroecology is a movement to support the reclaiming of traditional and ancestral knowledge which serves as the foundation for social and ecological transformation.

20 years makes a huge difference... but not for farmworkers


It's been almost 20 years since the EPA introduced the Worker Protection Standard--the only regulations that protect farmworkers from pesticides. The new guidelines changed industry practices for the better, but have never adequately protected the health and safety of farmworkers and their families. Sign this petition to the EPA, demand that they protect farmworkers now!

In 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced that they would update the WPS to beef up the protections. They released a draft of the proposed update in February, received more than 200,000 public comments and 400 handwritten pleas from farmworkers over the summer and have been stalling ever since. 

We propose holding the EPA to a deadline of August 18, 2015--exactly 20 years after the WPS were put in place in 1995--to put these new protections in place. Please sign our friend PAN's letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, because 20 years is too long to go without progress!


Use these sample tweets or create your own:

  • "Tell the @EPA @GinaEPA to update the #WPS, because 20 years is too long! #farmworkers #pesticides "
  • "Sign @pesticideaction's letter to @GinaEPA so that @EPA updates the #WPS by August 18, 2015: @FWAFL" 
  • 20 years is too long to go without improving farmworkers' lives, sign @pesticideaction's letter to@EPA @FWAFL" 

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Commitment to ‘La Lucha’ in 2015

2015 is the beginning of a new year and a time for re-committing ourselves to the struggle for social justice for this country’s hardworking farmworkers.   FWAF staff is determined.  We will re-double our efforts to work for immigrants’ rights, better wages, decent housing, freedom from sexual harassment, and protection from pesticide exposure for the workers in the fields, groves and nurseries in Florida and in the nation.  The farmworker community is our community!  We are the farmworkers, and that includes many of our staff, our Board of Directors, the leadership committees, our community leaders, and community members.

Farmworkers form the very basis of the agricultural economy of the U.S.  We all depend upon the work they do for our country to function & flourish.  These workers deserve equality & dignity – civil rights, immigrants’ rights, worker rights and human rights.  This is what we will continue to work for today and throughout 2015.  Join us in the cause of “Justicia Para los Campesinos.”

In 2015, we will:

  • Continue to fight for Comprehensive Immigration Reform on a national level
  • Educate farmworkers on the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability
  • Pressure the Environmental Protection Agency for an improved Worker Protection Standard to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure
  • Advocate for bilingual pesticide labels for agricultural pesticides
  • Seek unpaid wages for farmworker victims of wage theft
  • Grow the Agroecology Program and local farmworker run community gardens to begin to transform the food production in local
  • Engage in academic research projects with Emory University to increase the scientific knowledge on the occupational health of farmworkers
  • Actively participate in coalitions, including the Food Chain Workers Alliance, La Via Campesina, the Rural Coalition and the Domestic Fair Trade Coalition, among others

The FRHA Wendell Rollason Award

Apopka advocate wins Wendell Rollason Award for rural health work, Fla., November 20, 2014 - The Florida Rural Health Association is proud to announce Tirso Moreno, co-founder and general coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida, the 2014 winner of the Wendell N. Rollason Achievement Award.

The Wendell Rollason Award was established in 1995 to honor Wendell Rollason, a powerful force in Florida on issues of rural health, migrant farm workers, and education for poor and minority children. In the spirit of Rollason, the award winner is honored for his or her compassion, unselfishness, and commitment in seeking solutions in the delivery of rural health care and quality of life in rural Florida.

 Under Moreno’s leadership, the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) has a 31-year history of contributing to the health and well-being of farmworker communities in 15 counties across Central and South Florida.

 “With deep commitment to community organizing, popular education, and farmworker leadership development, Tirso has led FWAF to many social, environmental, and economic justice accomplishments,” said Holly Baker, Moreno’s colleague and nominator for the award.

Our Lives and our Labor Matters

Our Lives and our Labor Matters

Gainesville, FL - On Thursday, December 4th, the US House of Representatives passed a bill introduced by U.S. Representative Ted Yoho (R- FL3) to bar the President from deferring the deportation of undocumented Americans through the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. As if that weren't enough, late Friday the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that the Sunshine State was joining a lawsuit against Obama's executive action on immigration.
Both actions are a symbolic and shameful move to attack the administration's program which would give temporary relief from deportation to nearly 5 million undocumented parents of US citizen children who have been here more than five years. The relief would imply they would get a work permit and thus, a drivers' license, dramatically reducing their chance of being detained and separated from their children. It is estimated that less than 253,000 of over 600,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida who would potentially quality.     
Rep. Ted Yoho represents wide agricultural areas of Florida, and in fact, sits on the Agriculture Committee. Agriculture is a $100 billion industry and employs nearly one million Floridians.  Rep. Yoho should be well aware of the needs of our agricultural community for regularization of the status of immigrants who work for the farmers, as well as of the suffering of the many U.S. citizen children whose parents have not been able to change their status due to the repeated failures by the US Congress to fix our broken immigration system.
Tirso Moreno, from the Farmworker Association of Florida stated: "This is hypocritical considering that many undocumented Floridians are farmworkers who work from sun to sun doing the backbreaking work that sustains our economy. We feed not only Florida, we feed the nation. We do the hardest work at the lowest pay, and to add insult to injury, Rep. Yoho wants us to fear detention and deportation too? He should know better,

Tirso Moreno, opina sobre acciones ejecutivas

Jeanne Economos, talking about the Pesticide Awareness Campaign

Join host, News Director Rick Spisak

with his guests Jeanne Economos, from Pesticide Awareness Campaign (Click to listen de podcast)

and Our friend from Food Not Bombs the Hunger Striker Dezeray who is non-violently fighting for compassion for the Hungry and Homeless in Fort Lauderdale and across the country.

And our ACA Advocate Athena from Florida Chain, explaining the new registration campaign, and dispelling the rumours that have been circulating by those who have opposed it since it was first proposed.

TUNE IN for our Thanksgiving Special - Food, Pesticide, Hunger and Healthcare - TUNE IN - 

and give thanks for all the good people that make these shows possible.

Solidarity & Peace

Rick Spisak, News Director

Some 7 million undocumented migrants hope for Congress to pass new immigration law

Taken from: WPLG-TV (Miami) November 21, 2014, By Andrea Torres

The majority of undocumented migrants in South Florida did not benefit from President Barack Obama's executive order -- shielding 5 million from deportation

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. - Many in the business sector worried that President Barack Obama's executive order was going to have an impact on South Florida's labor market, but it won't.

There are still at least 7 million undocumented migrants nationwide, who do not have a path toward a legal work permit. Jorge, who asked that his last name not be published, said Thursday night that what they need is Congress to pass new immigration law.

Undocumented workers who are better off in the United States underpaid than in Central America or Haiti make up the work force of the agricultural fields in Homestead and Florida City. Work permits would mean higher pay since most of them make less than Florida's $7.93 minimum wage.

Wendell Rollason Award to FWAF's General Coordinator, Tirso Moreno

On Thursday, November 20, 2014, the Florida Rural Health Association presented the Wendell Rollason Award to FWAF's General Coordinator, Tirso Moreno.  The award is given annually to recognize outstanding public service leadership in the area of rural health issues in Florida, and to recognize commitment in seeking solutions in the delivery  of rural health care or quality of life in rural Florida. 

FWAF Response to the President’s Executive Order Regarding Immigration

November 21, 2014

From the Farmworker Association of Florida and our farmworker membership in Florida, we want to thank President Obama for taking the bold move, against stiff opposition, to provide for measures under his executive authority to protect close to 5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States against the threats of detention and deportation. While we fully recognize that this is but a stop-gap measure to provide temporary relief to families that have been living in the shadows and in fear for years, the urgency of the immigration crisis demanded the courage to take immediate steps that have a major impact on a large segment of the population in our country.

In light of last night’s Presidential announcement, we take the following position:

  • The immigration crisis and the broken immigration system in the U. S. will not be solved by an Executive Order. The country needs more than a temporary fix to a complicated and massive domestic problem.
  • Congress must commit to finding a long-term, fair and just solution to address the status of the over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States today.
  • Holding 11million people hostage to unresolved disagreements over securing the border continues to leave millions of hardworking families that are part of the fabric of our society and economy in a limbo that our country cannot afford.
  • We call on the incoming Congress to put aside partisan politics and pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that treats all people with respect and dignity and that pulls our country together and that stops the division and attack mentality.

We resolve to:

  • Work with our community members that qualify for relief under this Executive Order to help them engage in the qualification process.
  • Commit to fight for the rights of those who are excluded from the Executive Order to defend their right to continue to work, contribute to our society and to stay with their families in the U.S.
  • Challenge our members, our supporters and our community to continue working tirelessly until we have achieved a just, compassionate, and fair Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

We cannot wait any longer! Our families deserve better! Our country needs to live up to its values as a melting pot that welcomes all to her shores.

FL: Pesticidas mortales

News taken from Univision Orlando

Florida, (Entravision).- Los químicos utilizados en los cultivos son una de las amenazas más peligrosas que enfrentan los trabajadores del campo, día a día. Ampliamos en nuestro reportaje especial “Pesticidas mortales”.

Elvire greets the Pope

Elvire's daughter wrote in her facebook "So proud of what my mom is doing. She truly cares about the La Via Campesina and the FWAF organization, she totally deserved to meet the pope and her trip to Italy."

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