Farmworkers are considered essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis and continue to work on California farms and ranches. In order to ensure that these workers’ voices are shaping responses to COVID-19, a broad coalition of researchers and farmworker advocates are leading an effort to collect data on how the virus is affecting farmworkers.
Given the urgent need for information, this group is meeting multiple times a week and will begin compiling data at the end of April. A brief phone survey will be conducted with farmworkers to collect critical information on their experiences and abilities to protect themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key informant interviews with farm worker advocates and allies will help to fill in the picture of the virus’ effects on farm worker communities. The study will focus on collecting information that can only be gathered directly from farmworkers and farmworker-based organizations with the intention of informing policy action, agricultural workplace practices and worker information about the best ways to access support services.
Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing multiple crises that will affect the farmworker community, the group will organize its research into phases that capture information about different impacts of the virus on these communities. The first phase of data collection (April-June) will address the immediate ways that the virus is affecting the health of farm workers. The second phase (July-Dec) will focus on the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on farmworkers.
The survey coalition includes the California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS), Lideres Campesinas, Centro Binacional de para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, the Farm Worker Care Coalition, Central California Environmental Justice Network, and the Western Center for Ag Worker Health and Safety.
Funding for the study is being provided by The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, The 11th Hour Project and the Western Center for Ag Worker Health and Safety For further information about the study, contact Ildi Carlisle-Cummins (firstname.lastname@example.org) at CIRS.
Researchers involved in this effort include Dvera Saxton, Bonnie Bade, Don Villarejo, Rick Mines, Gail Wadsworth, Dave Runsten, Eric De Leon, Joel Diringer, Ed Kissam, Jennifer Martinez, Tomas Madrigal and Susana Matias with support from Sara Blanco, Johanna Schenner, Cindy Quezada, Mily Treviño Sauced, Fernando Serrano, Santiago Ventura and Lupe Martinez.