Written By Hunter Knapp
The new year arrived with a flurry of snowstorms and celebrations. As Coloradans across the state gathered together to relax with family and friends, many agricultural workers reported to work at dairies and meatpacking houses. Despite the challenges posed by Colorado’s harsh winters, many workers and their families have been a little warmer this year thanks to the generosity of the GoFarm community. This past fall, an idea to create a winter coat drive for agricultural workers became a reality. With some quick thinking and coordination at the end of the farming season, the GoFarm network was able to collect and donate 74 winter coats. This effort also sparked the first annual Project Protect Food Systems Workers Winter Coat Drive. An amazing group of 40 partner organizations across the state joined in to donate more than 2,000 winter coats!
These winter coats will be distributed to families by the Project Protect Promotora Network. Project Protect Promotores are culturally and linguistically skilled community health navigators who connected with almost 17,000 unique agricultural workers over the past two years. Many of these talented promotores previously worked in agriculture themselves, giving them a deep understanding of the challenges faced by Spanish-speaking immigrants living in Colorado’s rural communities. In addition, more than 100,000 reported conversations with agricultural workers chronicle the broad set of needs created by an economic system that diminishes the value of their labor. Food insecurity, language barriers, and the inability to buy basic necessities lead to long term health disparities affecting both adults and children. The winter coats donated by GoFarm are an important step in the long-term fight to achieve health equity for these essential members of the Colorado community.
If you would like to become more involved with the efforts of Project Protect Food Systems and the Project Protect Promotora Network, please sign up for the email list and monthly meeting invitations at www.projectprotectfoodsystems.org.