– Nathaly Trinidad Flores, Solidaridad intern
When I learned about SAF and the current conditions farmworkers work in, I was mainly confused on why this is a topic that was never mentioned in my almost 8 years in agricultural education. Especially considering how in North Carolina children as young as 12 are able to work in the fields and then be a student in a horticulture class at their local high school. In a curriculum designed to build agriculture advocates, how could that advocacy not extend to the people in the fields?
My goal this year was to learn more about what farmworkers are asking from us to make the most impact. The biggest way, my experience with SAF taught me, is by communicating farmworkers' messages of justice with confidence and hope. It can be through social media, presentations, rallies, and any opportunities that may arise to teach. Teaching from an advocacy viewpoint was very scary to me at the beginning of the year. Mainly because I knew I had to learn a lot myself before I felt confident enough to share information with others. So when the Solidaridad interns were told to give a presentation about farmworker justice before the end of the year, I was more than nervous. After reviewing my notes and giving myself more time to learn, I started making my presentation and my confidence grew in being able to share about this topic. From the presentations we attended with guest speakers and simply working alongside SAF staff, I was able to prepare a presentation for other aspiring agricultural educators in one of my classes at NCSU.
So many of my peers were astonished at the conditions farmworkers face and had never heard of the movement before. That reinforced to me the issue I had noticed in my education and previous experiences. Moving forward I want to become an active advocate for farmworkers in my daily communities as well as make farmworker justice a more active conversation in agricultural education. The Solidaridad program was an amazing learning experience and has opened my framework of justice and how everyone can participate in fighting for it.