The land showers us with an abundance yielded to us by way of farmworkers. Farmworkers are an affirmation of our connection to the Earth. The value of their work and of their sacrifice is illimitable; it is therefore critical that we honor the dignity of the farmworker.
Here at AFOP Health & Safety, it is our mission to give farmworkers the dignity they deserve by ensuring they have access to the basic necessities: fresh, clean water; a cool place to rest. And, sunlight, but not in excess. AFOP Health & Safety provides heat stress training to those at risk of heat-related illnesses. Our mantra is: Water. Rest. Shade. Repeat.
The fields are rich with culture and language – a beautiful thing indeed. At times, it is at odds with the more dominant English language. English proficiency, however, is no obstacle in the trainings we provide, as we create low-literacy materials and offer training to workers in a language they can understand: Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Mixteco, etc. The material is accessible to all those in need.
Avoiding exposure to pesticides on a farm is no easy task. And, since workers cannot spend their workday sheltering from pesticide spray and residues when their job is to harvest, there must be another way. “The alternative?” you may ask. Why, protective clothing is the solution. This includes closed-toe shoes, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and gloves. Our training called “LEAF: Limiting Exposure Around Families,” teaches farmworkers about how to remove that clothing in a way that doesn’t expose their spouses or kids to pesticides upon their return home at the end of the workday.
What can you do? Donate! Volunteer your time by reaching out to those in need; lend your voice by speaking up for those who can’t; contribute to the discussion. This week you’ll have the opportunity to donate your new or gently used long sleeved shirts. Drop off at any participating site to help protect those who provide for us.