Our History

FWAF is a statewide organization established in 1983, with five offices in Florida. Each office was created based on work around separate natural disasters that impacted farmworkers.

For over a century, Central Florida was known for its acres and acres of citrus groves growing oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and other citrus fruits that were shipped around the state and around the country. The industry required the intensive labor of hard-working farmworkers to hand harvest the crops each year during the long citrus growing season.


The beginning: the 80’s Citrus crop freeze

In the mid-1980s, Central Florida experienced several devastating freezes that caused extensive damage to the citrus crop, leaving thousands of farmworkers without work or a way to make a living. Starting in Mascotte, west of Orlando, unemployed farmworkers came together and organized themselves to fight for disaster unemployment and other assistance to carry them through the period of the natural disaster. This was the seed for the formation of what came to be known as the Farmworker Association of Central Florida (FACF), established by the workers themselves in 1983, with support from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Farmworker Ministry in Apopka. In 1986, FACF was incorporated as a non-profit organization and an office was established in Apopka. At this time the workers expanded their organizing efforts to farmworkers in the fern-growing area of Pierson, FL, where a second office was set up in 1987.

Read the details of our organizations evolution in the timeline below: