Agricultural Worker Health Day
On California’s Central Coast, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy the freshest produce in the world – the basis for our indispensable agricultural sector. With COVID-19, those who work in the fields picking strawberries, artichokes, lettuce, Brussels sprouts and so much more were deemed essential workers. Clearly, they are crucial to our food supply and that of the entire country, but in any language, “essential” doesn’t necessarily mean “appreciated.”
To make sure that they do feel appreciated, local residents and advocates organized the Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan – a safe line of cars and trucks with huge signs of gratitude in English and Spanish. “It’s amazing to see the joy on their faces,” said one organizer. “It elevates them even for just a few minutes to make them feel recognized and truly essential.”
The Caravan organizers soon expanded to offering meals and household supplies — such as detergent, diapers, wipes — to help farm workers stay financially stable and safe at both home and work, as well as books and activities for the workers’ children. The group organized special events for Cinco de Mayo, replacing in-person celebrations and parties with a mariachi band, and bringing flowers and cards to workers for Mother’s and Father’s Day.
Staff at Salud Para La Gente, a health center serving many of the workers and their families, provide patient education materials not only in Spanish, but also the Oaxacan Mixteco language.
To view in Oaxacan Mixteco press here
The Salud staff reinforce public health messages to stay safe by avoiding big parties or gatherings (especially indoors), wearing masks, and maintaining distance from others. They, too, appreciate the appreciation of their hard-working patients who are too often invisible and overlooked.
To support the Watsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan, donate through the Action Council of Monterey. Videos with messages of appreciation, health, and safety are available to share in Spanish with English subtitles and in Mixteco Bajo.