The Farmworker Association of Florida and the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council are pleased to release the South Apopka Community Food Assessment. The report provides a broad overview of the local food system in South Apopka - the assets, the challenges, and the opportunities, as well as the barriers faced by low-income families in our area when it comes to accessing quality fresh produce. The assessment spanned three years (2011-13), and engaged low-income community members, farmworkers, farmers, community organizations, food retailers and food-based programs, healthcare representatives, faith-based groups, the local credit union and community center, the local bus system, and local elected officials. During that time, much data was gathered and many ideas were generated about how to increase families' fresh food consumption and healthy lifestyle choices, thereby positively impacting their health. We look forward to collaborating with local partners to improve South Apopka's local food system!
Our food system depends on the labor of more than two million farmworkers across the country, and they depend on our support!
Join us in urging EPA to make their proposed new farmworker safety rules stronger and more effective. The proposed rules are open for public comment right now, and we need to stand with farmworkers for a safer, healthier workplace. Please sign on to the petition here!
Holly Baker of the Farmworker Association of Florida defines poverty this way: "Poverty is not only struggling to have the means to support the basic needs of your family, poverty is living each day feeling and knowing that you are unjustly judged by others and that you don't have an equal voice." (excerpt from the article)
Article by Luz Vega-Marquis (Read full article here)
What does it mean to be poor in America? Just as importantly, who decides how poverty is defined?
Let's start with the dictionary. According to the professional word-wranglers at Merriam-Webster, poverty is "The state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions."
Even in the supposedly neutral arena of dictionaries, poverty is defined as a lack of not merely money but status -- a personal failing rather than a social problem. This is poverty as defined from the outside, looking in.
Poverty as an experience -- the father who holds down two $7.25-an-hour jobs and rarely sees the family he works so hard to feed; the baby boomers facing spending their old age in poverty -- is glaringly absent from public discourse about poverty.
Words, however, do hold tremendous power to shape public attitudes and perception, and perception, in turn, shapes policy.
The two million farmworkers who labor to put food on our tables are about to get new protections against pesticides. By taking action now, you can help ensure that these protections are strong enough to do the job.
The protections are proposed by the EPA in improvements to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, which hasn’t been upgraded since it was passed in 1992. However, the standard can be improved.
The proposed rule is in response to a 2011 petition from Earthjustice and our partners on behalf of several farmworker and public advocacy organizations requesting improved protections from pesticide exposure. Exposure to pesticides and their residues causes farmworkers to suffer more chemical-related injuries and illnesses than any other workforce nationwide.
Help improve these proposed standards by expressing your concerns—today—to the EPA.
The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance today released A Preliminary Report on Seeds and Seeds Practices in the US in celebration of La Vía Campesina's International Day of Farmers’ and Peasants’ Struggles – April 17.
The Report is based on surveys of seed savers and seed advocates from around the United States. It documents who saves seeds, as well as why, where and which ones.
On March 31, in honor of the birthday of Cesar Chavez and culminating national Farmworker Awareness Week, representatives of the Farmworker Association of Florida, Central Florida Jobs With Justice, YAYA of the National Farm Worker Ministry, OUR Walmart, Organize Now and other local Central Florida organizations met with staff of the office of Florida Senator Bill Nelson in Orlando. In solidarity with actions around the country supported by the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the group raised up the issues of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 as well as expanding protections for farmworkers, including the importance of passing a comprehensive immigration reform.
The Senator's staff assured us that Senator Nelson is a cosponsor of the S. 84, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is aimed at closing the wage gap between men and women, and a cosponsor of the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, S. 1737, which would incrementally raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over two years and then index it to inflation and increase the minimum wage for tipped employees until it reaches 70 percent of the minimum wage for regular employees.
While farmworkers are excluded from minimum wage labor laws, the Farmworker Association of Florida stands in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters in other occupations all along the food chain. All workers deserve to make a living wage! Farmworkers need the same wage protections afforded all other U.S. workers. Together, Si, Se Puede!
TOP 50 GARDENS, Vote from April 1-April 21
The Campesinos’ Gardens, run by and for primarily farmworker families, were founded in the citrus-growing region of Fellsmere, Florida in 2010. Ironically, those who work to provide fresh food for the masses, are often unable to provide sufficient, quality produce for their own families. Utilizing city-owned lands, the gardens engage farmworker and other low-income families in meaningful sustainable agriculture efforts. The Campesinos’ Gardens’ two sites in Fellsmere reach more than 100 families annually with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Local farmers’ markets enable the Gardens to reach additional community members with naturally-ripened, freshly-harvested produce. The model will be replicated this year in two additional farmworker communities – Pierson and Florida City. The Seeds of Change grant would be used to support youth education efforts, and to support infrastructure costs of expanding to two new areas, including purchase of tools, seeds, and fencing and irrigation supplies.