Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs
The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) is seeking funds to continue our Serving America's Farmworkers Everywhere (SAFE) AmeriCorps program. As a national direct AmeriCorps grantee our SAFE AmeriCorps members deliver vital occupational health education to migrant and seasonal farmworkers in rural agriculturally intense areas throughout the country. With 21.58 MSY, we will be able to deliver pesticide safety education to over 17,000 migrant and seasonal farmworkers who are exposed daily to potentially deadly pesticides. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency supports this project by matching 47% of the budget and providing technical expertise and resources. Fourteen AFOP member organizations will sponsor SAFE AmeriCorps members as host sites and provide a financial match, supervision and local support for the members.
Our members are uniquely positioned to be the first point of contact (and frequently the only point of contact) with farmworkers to deliver information on how they can reduce their risk of serious health problems from exposure to pesticides at work and in their homes. Our SAFE AmeriCorps program uses a public health behavior change model that will demonstrate the impact of our work by continuing to measure gains in knowledge, shifts in beliefs about the hazards of pesticides, changes in perceptions of personal control farmworkers have over their health and most importantly, behavior modifications that will reduce the health risks to themselves and their families. In the long term, these behavior modifications will lead to improved health and longevity among a group that has little to no access to health care and who labor in one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. Migrant and seasonal farmworkers have a multitude of life challenges including poverty, language and cultural barriers to access to services, and pragmatic concerns such as transportation to and from services and living in isolated employer-controlled housing. SAFE AmeriCorps members, recruited from the farmworker community, who are often former farmworkers themselves have the skills and cultural acumen to reach into the labor camps, fields and orchards where others cannot or will not go. Continued funding for the SAFE AmeriCorps program assures that the often ignored population who literally puts food into the nation's grocery cart will be offered an opportunity to learn basic health protection skills for themselves and their children.