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 and participated in the recent meeting in Indonesia"
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.
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:
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, Fla: Edible Cactus & More
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.
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
FARMWORKER ASSOCIATION OF FLORIDA
April 24, 2013
The Farmworker Association of Florida commends the introduction of the U.S. Senate immigration reform bill – the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. While we laud the bipartisan efforts on the bill and recognize this milestone in the fight for immigrants’ rights, we also stand firm in the position that comprehensive immigration reform efforts must take into account and include the following:
Family unity and reunification, and a moratorium on deportation of immigrants
An end to the harassment and racial profiling of immigrants
Observance of and respect for the human rights of immigrants
A pathway to citizenship and adjustment of legal status that is not overly burdensome, that does not require a return to one’s home country, that provides protections during the citizenship process, and that protects family members as well as applicants for citizenship
Workers’ rights of the farmworker labor force and other low-wage immigrant workers, including protection under all labor rights, and fair and equal rights for domestic and foreign workers
An guestworker program in which foreign agricultural guestworkers enjoy all the rights of domestic workers, including the right to immigrate to the U.S. with their families and the right to change employers once they are in this country
Recognition of the root causes of immigration and the impact of U.S. trade policies on the lives of poor people in other countries
The Farmworker Association of Florida recognizes that even the best immigration policy in the world does not address the underlying systemic problems of the current agricultural system that keeps farmworkers in conditions of poverty and vulnerability. While immigration reform is a first step to adjust the status of workers currently in this country, dignity and justice for farmworkers is an ongoing effort that will require the work of many and the national political will to address.
Immigrant farmworkers are among the most vulnerable and exploited workers in our society. Although they endure back-breaking work in extreme weather and chronic exposure to pesticides and dangerous working conditions to put food on our tables, all for deplorable wages, they are frequently the victims of discrimination, exploitation, and maltreatment. In current times of heightened and divisive anti-immigrant sentiment, immigrant farmworkers and other immigrant low-wage earners, regardless of immigration status, often live in fear of job loss, detention and deportation, and family separation. Afraid to speak out about the injustices they experience, immigrants bear abuses in their communities and in their workplaces as the cost of being undocumented in this country. Immigrant farmworkers provide the labor that supports Florida’s agricultural industry and that keeps food prices low. These workers and their families, who contribute significantly to American society and economy, deserve to live as equals, not lesser-thans, and to pursue their dreams of a better life. For this reason, the Farmworker Association of Florida continues to persist in the fight for immigrants’ rights and for fair and just comprehensive immigration reform.
- 4th Woman to Woman Conference 2013
- Going to DC... Si se Puede!
- Si Se Puede!
- Farm workers to support immigration reform