Agency Spotlight: Friends of Fieldworkers
Fieldworkers pick strawberries in Oxnard, California. Photo credit: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
Food Forward works like a bridge, connecting fresh produce to local organizations that provide food assistance and other services to their communities. These organizations are an essential piece of what we do, and they are on the ground every day working to improve the lives of their neighbors. Today we’d like to tell you about one of our partner agencies in Ventura—Friends of Fieldworkers!
Founded in October 2013 in response to the Oxnard fire, Friends of Fieldworkers initially functioned as a disaster relief organization—providing clothing, household items, furniture, toys, and medical supplies to displaced families throughout the area. After seeing the devastating degree to which families of fieldworkers were impacted by the fires, Friends of Fieldworkers shifted its focus to support families of fieldworkers in all aspects of their lives. Now, the organization offers a number of direct service programs including housing assistance, scholarships for higher education, and direct food distribution.
A young community member served by Friends of Fieldworkers enjoys a fresh piece of fruit. Photo credit: Friends of Fieldworkers
Agriculture is a big part of Ventura County’s economy, with the estimated value of crops grown equalling 2.2 billion dollars in 2015. Fieldworkers are a huge part of this economic sector, but many struggle to afford the cost of living in Ventura. Ironically, our food system depends on the labor of fieldworkers, yet more than 50% of California fieldworkers experience food insecurity. In addition, many fieldworkers are undocumented immigrants, which can make accessing government services a challenge.
According to Judy Lucas, Founder and President of Friends of Fieldworkers, Food Forward has been “a god-send… It’s wonderful to be able to share Food Forward fresh produce with these families who often have only limited and expensive choices.” Since partnering with Food Forward in October 2018, Friends of Fieldworkers has received over 6,400 pounds of citrus and avocados from Backyard Harvest events throughout Ventura County!
Food Forward volunteers pose with mandarins, ready to be donated to Friends of Fieldworkers!
We hope you enjoyed learning about this amazing organization and our partnership with them. You can learn more about Friends of Fieldworkers here, and get involved in a Food Forward pick or glean here!