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Five on Friday: The Health Needs of Farmworkers

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Five on Friday: The Health Needs of Farmworkers

While Thanksgiving looked different for many of us this year, for some, it is too much the same: millions of food workers across the US are still toiling in fields, farms, orchards, packing houses, and slaughterhouses with few worker protections, in dangerous working conditions, and for poverty wages. This year, many are working in conditions that have led to the rampant spread of COVID-19, as a result of a lack of national regulations to protect them despite their “essential” status. But we all rely on their work, year in and year out, to grow, harvest, and process the food on our Thanksgiving plates. It’s more important than ever to recognize the work and sacrifices that our food workers have taken – our deep gratitude goes to food workers all across the country.  We all can eat, because of the work that you do.

We also express our sincere appreciation for our active and growing network of clinicians who have dedicated their professional lives to serving these migrants and many others who are equally underserved, whose health needs are often overlooked. Thank you for your hard work! During these times of gratitude, we invite you to support your fellow clinicians, invest in health, and elevate our collective voice through a donation to MCN’s #GivingTuesday campaign in honor of these #HerosOnTheFrontline. Please visit our GoFundMe page, share our campaign, call out your Hero on your social media -- and encourage your friends to do so, as well. Many thanks to our supporters.

Here is a special Thanksgiving edition of Five on Friday, focused on the health needs of farmworkers who bring us the food on our plates.


Chart of regulations to protect farmworkers

The table breaking down state-by-state emergency regulations to protect farmworkers from COVID-19, from the Environmental Working Group, has been regularly updated. It’s part of a larger report, “Seven Months Into Pandemic, Most States Still Don’t Require Farmworker Protections.”

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Screenshot from the PBS special

The PBS NewsHour recently aired the segment, “Deemed Essential, California Farmworkers Risk Disease and Deportation.”

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The Berkeley Conversations logo

UC Berkeley’s December 2nd webinar focuses on Monterey County: “Our Food System During a Pandemic: California Farmworkers’ COVID-19 Rates and Risks.”

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Farmworker women harvesting watermelons

More Farmworker Women Are Bringing Their Children to Work During the Pandemic,” according to this article in North Carolina Health News. 

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A photo of farmworkers at work

Double Weekly Win: A migrant clinician’s side project – photography – takes center stage in a new exhibit of his photos of farmworkers in Michigan’s “fruit ridge,” as detailed in “Photo Series Offers Glimpse into Lives of Migrant Farmworkers.”  Further south, “Indiana farm worker of the year is helping hard-working families this Thanksgiving.”




Have a safe and healthy weekend.

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