March 22, 2018 - Dorene DiNaro
Next time you bite into a juicy apple, enjoy a ripe watermelon, or add spicy green chile to your burger, try to imagine what it takes to get that food from the farm to your table. Farmworkers work long hours often in unbearable conditions. They are exposed to the blazing hot sun, pesticides and fertilizers, and are often hunched over or on their knees the entire day.
According to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the NM chile industry is the most prosperous in the world employing about 15,000 chile pickers. Yet, the farmworker population as a whole remains underrepresented and socioeconomically vulnerable. Their wages are low, they have little to no benefits, and education is a luxury.
During Farmworker Awareness Week, April 2-7, hosted by the CAMPerinos and supported by College Assistance Migrant Program with several UNM student groups, departments, and community organizations will host events to shine light on the hard work and suffrage that has carried the agricultural industry.
All events are in the UNM Student Union Building and kick off on Monday, April 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with Dia de la Mujer Campesina, celebrating women farmworkers and bringing awareness to the hardships they face in their profession. That evening at 5:45 p.m. the Lobo Theater will feature the movie, Rape in the Fields followed by a discussion panel. On Tuesday, April 3, student farmworkers will talk about their experience during Dia del Estudiante Campesino from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Wednesday, April 4, a birthday celebration honoring Caesar Chavez and the Farmworker Movement will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with music at noon. The week concludes on Saturday, April 7, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center with the 25th Annual Cesar Chavez Marcha Y Fiesta beginning at 10:30 a.m. followed by live music, kids activities, and food trucks from noon to 3:30 p.m.
The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) is a federally funded program established to identify, recruit, admit, and enroll students from migrant and seasonal farm working backgrounds in higher education. CAMP provides students with academic, social, and financial support to enable the completion of their first year of college.
For more information on FAW, please visit the UNM FAW FB page or call 505-277-6084.