Further Thoughts on Making Farm Work Healthier

After participating in our conversation about improving farmworkers’ health, I had some further thoughts about how we should take bold action to fix the problem.

Farmworkers are essential workers. But more than that, they’re the critical lifeblood of our agricultural economy. Yet, in addition to farmworkers being denied many of the same benefits workers in other industries cherish, the communities where they live often lack the amenities found elsewhere—sidewalks, clean water, schools that are not located near pesticide spraying, green canopies, parks, transportation, and medical care. This is a discrepancy that works against some of the hardest working people in the country.

What it means is that the people who grow the food that you eat live not only as second class non-citizens, but with far worse health—virtually by design.

If you care about the environment or your own health it’s easy to see that this is blasphemy!

The short list of what farmworkers should receive is:
1. Health insurance
2. Paid Sick leave
3. Retirement
4. Higher rates for any incentive for the conversion to Greener living (solar, electric vehicles, charging at home infrastructure, electric lawnmowers, LED lighting, help converting from natural gas to electricity, etc.)
5. Dignified and affordable housing opportunities
6. Access to health and social service resources in their communities.
7. Ongoing job skills development opportunities in green and other rising renewable technology industries
8. Citizenship!

This would result in the economic development of the neighborhoods and cities where the farmworkers reside. Healthy places provide for healthy people and a strong economy! Let’s make sure that all developments are designed for long term resiliency and sustainability. 

A rise in the tide lifts all boats!

Rey Leon, Mayor of Huron, California


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