Farmworkers in the San Joaquin Valley are facing limited access to resources during the pandemic, according to the second phase of the COVID-19 Farmworker Study funded by the California Institute of Rural Studies.
Community organizers, like Erica Fernandez Zamora, conducted 63 in-depth interviews with farmworkers across the state. Most are struggling financially.
“Most of the farmworkers have been working throughout the pandemic to provide food for our families,” Fernandez Zamora says. “However, the same farmworkers had to portion their food or struggle to bring food to their tables.”
She says many families lost a second income when schools closed down and parents had to stay home with their children. Getting financial assistance has been challenging, she adds.
“We ask to expand and simplify access to income and safety net resources and services that move beyond education,” Fernandez Zamora says. “And overcome barriers for farm workers regardless of documentation status.”
Fernandez Zamora says the state and federal government should be working closely with community organizations, which often have built trusted and established relationships with farmworkers.