The town of Pierson calls itself “The Fern Capitol of the World.” In fact, the main crop in the Volusia and Putnam County areas of Florida – where the FWAF Pierson office is located – is ferns that are grown as part of the ornamental plant industry. Ferns are hand-harvested by farmworkers and then shipped around the country and around the world to be used in popular flower and floral arrangements, making special holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day, among the busiest seasons for these workers. Located west of world famous Daytona Beach and north of Deland, home of Stetson University, Pierson is a quiet
town surrounded by small rural communities, such as Barberville, Seville, Emporia, Crescent City, DeLeon Springs, and others The area is characterized by miles and miles of wooded areas, rural towns, and ferneries that employ thousands of mostly Hispanic farmworkers and that is home to hard-working farmworker extended families.
The Pierson office was the second FWAF office to be established and it has earned a reputation for its long history of work in and with the community. In 1998, the Catholic Diocese of Orlando assisted FWAF in purchasing the building that now houses the FWAF office and the farmworker Self-Help Credit Union, where farmworkers can cash paychecks, apply for loans, and establish credit. , A few years ago, with the help of Church World Service and the National Farm Worker Ministry, and thanks to design plans by a local architect, one-third of the office was remodeled, , to create a disaster storage area for housing supplies, such as food and generators for the community, in the event of a natural disaster. The community was buffeted by several natural disasters in the early and mid-2000s, including hurricanes and tornadoes, that caused significant damage to the town and surrounding areas. Because of its rural nature, disaster assistance agencies often overlook or delay response to families in that area , precipitating the need for local disaster preparedness efforts. A team of community members received the Certified Emergency Response (CERT) training and participated on committees with others in the county working on disaster preparedness and response plans and actions.
Today, the Pierson area office is one of the busiest Farmworker Association of Florida offices in the state.
Pierson Area Office
Pierson, FL 32180
Phone: (386) 749-9826
Fax: (386) 749-0477
Pierson Area Office - Farmworkers Association of Florida
Pierson Campesino's Garden
- Some citrus
Programs in the Pierson Office include:
- Pesticide Safety, and Environmental Health
- Immigrants’ and Workers’ Rights
- Civic Engagement and Civic Participation
- Services – Assistance with service programs and immigration applications and referrals
- Campesinos’ Gardens
- Agricultural Coop in development
By DALE FINLEY SLONGWHITE
THE HIGH COSTS OF CHEAP FOOD