On September 15, thirty members of our deacon community participated in a Farmworker Reality Tour in Watsonville. This experience challenged us to better understand the conditions of Mexican farmworkers in Central California. We heard from a Oaxacan couple who discussed their 7-day travel from Oaxcan, Mexico to the Arizona border through the desert guided by a coyote. They talked about their lives and described the every-day challenges that they face. They provided a backbreaking strawberry picking demonstration and we visited the Buena Vista Migrant Labor Camp where farmworkers shared their living conditions with us and the challenges their children face in receiving an education.
Finally, we traveled to central Watsonville and met a farmworker family that provided us with a delicious traditional Mexican meal and further discussion followed regarding wages, working conditions, the use of pesticides and other challenges. We are grateful to Deacon Steve Herrera for arranging this tour.
This unique experience gave all participants a rare inside view into the lives of the farmworkers who are responsible for our supply of fruits, vegetables and nuts. California’s $47 billion industrial agricultural system is nearly completely dependent on the labor of these hard-working migrants.
To learn more about how you can help or if you would like to arrange a Farmworker Reality Tour visit, www.farmworkerfamily.org.