From January 15 to February 15 2022, the five offices of the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) have been making morralitos (‘little satchels’). The goal of the morralitos project is to create public awareness about the health risks of pesticides exposure for farmworker women and their families. The Project is spearheaded by the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, one of our partner organizations.
Farmworkers, their families and community members across the country are decorating and exhibiting satchels. The small satchels represent the large ones that farmworkers use to carry produce picked in the fields. The decorations show their concern about pesticide exposure, share safety and health messages, and demonstrate the impact of pesticides on agricultural communities.
Making morralitos in Homestead
In our Homestead office, our newly established sewing cooperation is part of the morralitos project. The Homestead sewing cooperation grew out of smaller scale sewing classes in Homestead for community members needing new skills to support their families. This expansion was made possible by the generous donation of twelve Brother sewing machines. We’d like to thank Rabbi Amy L. Morrison and the congregants of the Temple Israel of Greater Miami again for their generosity!
The morralitos, decorated with warnings about pesticides, are shared with the community in several Facebook live events hosted by the Homestead office. With this online exhibit, FWAF is part of over 80 exhibits across the US and Mexico.
The dangers of pesticide exposure
An estimated 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides are sprayed on crops each year in the United States, and thousands of farmworkers experience the effects of acute pesticide poisoning, including headaches, nausea, shortness of breath and seizures. Exposure to pesticides like Roundup, Chlorpyrifos and Paraquat can lead to chronic health problems such as cancer, infertility, and neurological disorders.
The need for pesticide awareness
Farmworkers are not always aware of the pesticides to which they are exposed, the related health effects, or the laws meant to protect them. Pesticide exposure causes farmworkers to suffer more chemical-related injuries and illnesses than any other workforce in the nation.
For more information, visit the website of the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas