Among those who came to Capitol Hill to lobby for protections was Selena Zelaya, 18, a freshman at Seminal State College in Florida. She took time off from her busy schedule to visit the Hill twice, where she spoke to Florida congressional officers with her father Miguel about the harm her parents face from working as farmworkers.
Zelaya said the announcement was “great news” but cautioned that “any revisions or updates must be strong enough to protect farm workers." She continued:
It is important because many farm workers are being exposed to things they don't even know about and in some cases they don't see the importance of protections because they are not being trained every year. It means so much to my parents being farm workers for many years and having pesticides affect our family directly.
Why does this issue matter? Because an estimated 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops annually in the United States. Our nation’s estimated 2.4 million farmworkers form the backbone of the U.S. agricultural economy and face the greatest threat from the health impacts of these chemicals.
Selena Zelaya, with her father Miguel, in Washington, D.C. (Matt Roth / Earthjustice)
Taken from Fusion Net
You might think that the days were gone when elementary school kids would work long hours in the field picking crops, but that’s the reality at farms across the country.
The minimum age required for children to work in agriculture is 12 years old, but a Fusion investigation found kids as young as 8 and 10 years working in tobacco fields in North Carolina.
The presence of children in the agricultural sector isn’t a secret. Roughly 400,000 children work in agriculture every summer in the United States, according to The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Program.
Studies show these children face a high risk of dropping out of school, getting injured, or experiencing other serious health issues like heat exhaustion or green tobacco poisoning. Efforts to be better regulate the child labor have been pushed back by the farm lobby.
In this video, investigative reporter Rayner Ramirez visits the fields, talks to the young workers and their parents, and confronts farm industry officials about the persistence of child labor in agriculture.
From January 24 to January 27, the Farmworker Association of Florida was proud to host La Via Campesina International Peasant's Movement.
La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity. It strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature.
La Via Campesina comprises about 150 local and national organizations in 70 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Altogether, it represents about 200 million farmers. It is an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent from any political, economic or other type of affiliation.
The slogan of this movement is: "Globalizando la lucha! Globalizando esperanza!" meaning "Globalizing the struggle! Globalizing hope!"
“We would like to dedicate this blog in memory of the four Lake Apopka farmworkers, community leaders, and long-time Farmworker Association of Florida members – strong and dedicated women leaders and agricultural workers - who we lost in 2013. In memory of Angela Tanner, Willie Mae Williams, Betty Woods, and Louise Seay. With gratitude and remembrance from the community. We will miss you.”
By Jeannie Economos
When I first started working for the Farmworker Association of Florida in 1996, they told me part of my job was to work on the issue of Lake Apopka. Little did I know at the time that Lake Apopka would become my life’s work for the next 17 years. And, it would become personal…as I came to know and love the community of people I worked with – the farmworkers who fed America for generations.
Got food? Thank a farmworker
National Farmworker Awareness Week
March 24 – 31, 2014
National Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW) is a week of action for students and community members to raise awareness about farmworker issues on our campuses and in our communities. In 2014 we celebrate the 15th Annual National Farmworker Awareness Week to raise awareness about farmworker conditions and to honor their important contributions to us every day!
It’s a tolerable 40 degrees in Mount Dora, Florida, where 18-year-old Selena Zelaya is from. Instead of hanging out with friends or working at her part-time job at McDonald’s, Zelaya braved the freezing temperatures in DC to lobby on an issue close to her heart: Farmworker protections. It’s her second time lobbying in DC on this issue.
“I’m a very shy person. It takes a lot to make me talk,” Zelaya says. “But it was an issue I had to speak up about. When it’s something important, I like to speak my mind.”
Both of Zelaya’s parents are farmworkers in their home state of Florida, and Selena came back to DC this week to meet with congressional and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representatives to continue pushing for improvements to the weak and outdated Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which sets agricultural worker safety standards for pesticide use, but has not been updated or revised for more than 20 years. Public interest environmental group Earthjustice, Farmworker Association of Florida and several other farmworker advocacy organizations are leading the effort to push for these stronger protections.
Fed up with regulations that do not go far enough to protect them from exposure to toxic pesticides, farmworkers from Florida and North Carolina are on the move and going to Washington, DC. As they travel, they will be braving freezing cold temperatures in order to advocate for themselves, their families, their communities and for our food supply, and to let decision makers know that pesticide protections benefit us all. They will be meeting with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and with members of Congress to insist that stronger Worker Protection Standards be adopted and enacted. The Worker Protection Standards were first established over 20 years ago and have not been updated to reflect the new scientific knowledge that now links long-term pesticide exposure to chronic illnesses and to health impacts on the second generation.
Article taken from: Pesticide Action Network
EPA recently fined Bayer CropSciences $53,000 for endangering the lives of farmworkers with pesticide exposure in their Puerto Rican research and nursery operations. While this is a tiny drop in Bayer's multi-million dollar budget, we do take it as an encouraging sign.
The good news: When rules are enforced — in this case, the federal Worker Protection Standards (WPS) — employers are held accountable for protecting workers from exposure to hazardous pesticides. The less good news: Enforcement actions like this one are all too rare, and the WPS itself is old, inadequate and in serious need of an upgrade.
But there's more good news. That upgrade is finally happening, and we’re working with partners around the country to make sure the revised law does right by the workers it’s designed to protect. In the Puerto Rico case, Bayer CropScience failed to comply with several requirements of the existing WPS. Pesticide use did not follow label requirements, nor did the employer provide ample water, soap and towels for routine washing or an emergency decontamination area for workers.
The Farmworker Association of Florida received a grant in the amount of $20,000 from Bi-Lo Winn Dixie to support the community garden projects in farmworker communities. Here, FWAF staff members Holly Baker and Yolanda Gomez receive a check from the Bi-Lo Winn Dixie representative. The funds will be used to maintain and expand the community garden in Fellsmere, and to initiate new gardens in Pierson and Homestead. Thank you Winn Dixie!
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was created 64 years ago on 12/10/48. The UDHR has since become the most widely recognized and accepted human rights contract in history.
SO LET’S TAKE ACTION TO CELEBRATE THIS DAY!!
A handful of pesticide corporations are putting our health, our environment, and farmworkers at risk. With their toxic chemicals and GMOs, they are running roughshod over our basic human rights.
It is time to hold Monsanto and the rest of the "Big 6" to account. And, the next 5 days leading up to International Human Rights Day on December 10th is a good time to do it!
Send a message today (Click Here) Join us in sending a simple, powerful message to government officials: It's time to hold Monsanto & Co. accountable for the harms they inflict.
The impact of the Miller/Harkin minimum wage proposal on the price of food.
Opponents of raising the federal minimum wage often argue that, while the increase in wages may benefit low-wage workers, it will also increase the cost of food and other basic goods, thus hurting the very people the minimum wage increase is intended to help. In this report, we examine this argument by providing a detailed analysis of the potential increase in food prices of new legislation proposed by Congressmember George Miller (D-CA) in the House of Representatives and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) in the Senate that would increase the minimum wage to $9.80 over a three-year period in $0.85 increments, as well as increase the tipped minimum wage, which currently stands at $2.13, in similar increments until it reaches 70% of the full federal minimum.
Farmworkers feed the world. They provide us with the food that we eat every day, yet, they are still often the ‘invisible ones’ – people whose hard work is often unknown, unacknowledged or ignored. To provide us our food, flowers and houseplants, farmworkers are often exposed to very harsh and difficult working conditions in the fields, ferneries and greenhouses where they work. They perform some of the hardest work in our country and yet are among the least protected people in the nation.
More than 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops annually in the United States[i], with farmworkers facing a greater threat from exposure to these chemicals than any other sector of society.
Sign the petition to EPA (scroll down to fill out the form)
FWAF Community Organizers Elvira Carvajal and Claudia Gonzalez attended the Homestead-Miami Speedway pre-race ceremony as special guests. The Speedway has awarded FWAF a grant in the amount of $10,000 to support the establishment of a community garden by and for farmworker families. Land for the garden is being provided by the City of Florida City.
Members and volunteers of the Fellsmere Community Garden (established in 2010) have begun selling excess fruits, vegetables, and herbs at the new Fellsmere Farmers Market. Here, FWAF Community Organizer Yolanda Gomez sets up the table for the market on Saturday, November 9. The proceeds from the sales contribute to the sustainability of the garden, which provides locally-grown, chemical-free produce to more than 100 families in the farmworker community. Through this project, farmworkers are using their growing knowledge to benefit their own families and community by improving access to good, healthy, clean fresh foods!
- “Orlando Fifteen” Immigration Reform Leaders Arrested
- Tirso Moreno hablando de Reforma Migratoria
- Healthy Living Workshop
- ¡Reforma Migratoria Ahora!