As millions of workers stay at home in response to COVID-19, food systems workers have continued to operate in the fields and packing plants, with rising numbers of infections, death, and impact on our rural and agricultural communities. Project Protect Food Systems (PPFS) is a coalition representing immigrants, farmers, scholars, activists, unions, and workers across Colorado working to identify, elevate and address the needs of the people who contribute their labor to all parts of the food system. The immigrant workers who make up 70% of the agricultural labor force across the nation are also some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and for whom lack of health insurance, substandard working and living conditions are as much occupational hazards as is respiratory disease.
The Promotora Model, which is built on the understanding that in order to meaningfully increase health equity in our communities, community leaders of color must be at the table and involved in identifying the barriers and creating the solutions as well as being involved in decisions about activities that may affect their communities’ environment and/or health. Promotoras are skilled and respected Latinx community members who work within their community to bring resources, advocacy and needed services. When COVID response in frontline communities isn’t done in a culturally responsive way, it has immediate negative impacts and can contribute to future outbreaks and overall local community insecurity.
The promotora model has the following capacity and core areas of work *This baseline model represents the minimum size of a regional promotora model.
2 Full Time Lead Community Organizers/Promotora/es
Up to 5 neighborhood organizers: are the primary partners for the 2 lead community organizers.
8 person community response team: can be mobilized as needed by the Lead organizers when there is an outbreak or any other urgent communication or resource need in the community.
The main focus of this model is to train and provide resources for a group of promotoras across the state who are knowledgeable in legal, health and food-based issues that confront food systems workers in response to COVID-19.
Promotoras will support and work in tandem with Regional Labor and Employment Specialists.
Promotoras live in the geographic region where they work and have connections to the farm/food worker communities therein.
Promotoras will work in collaboration with agencies and members of the community to bring community voice to inform and influence decisions that impact their lives.
Promotoras will provide community education around health, legal guidance, and available resources including personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies.
Promotoras will provide support for community members who are experiencing additional vulnerabilities related to COVID-19.
Promotoras will provide support for community members who are Colorado residents as well as community members who are not residents but who are employed in the state or are required to remain by public health officials to remain in Colorado as a result of COVID-19 exposure.
When: Week of September 13th or 20th
What to know about COVID? Spread and Response
Particular susceptibility for Ag workers, Migrant, and Immigrant Communities
Culturally Appropriate Health Based Responses
We are also open to your expertise. We wanted to also have an epidemiologist join and speak for about thirty minutes. The goal is to make sure they understand the conditions and safety around COVID and to discuss preventative strategies, warning signs and common issues that we face. Because ag communities and communities of color have been highly impacted when contracting covid due to compounding other health factors (due to environmental racism or occupation to list a few causes) it is also important to talk about other types of health issues we must be highly vigilant towards such as respiratory issues and heart health. I think many people across different communities use different foods and recipes that help build immunity and it is always nice to highlight traditional knowledge. These are some of my thoughts.