Twelve Duke students
Child psychiatrist Dr. Robert Coles and Public Policy professor Bruce Payne led twelve Duke students in a summer-long Migrant Project, investigating conditions in NC migrant camps, testifying before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and successfully lobbying for the creation of NC Farmworker Legal Services.
Payne and other faculty and students at Duke founded the Interns in Conscience project of the Hart Leadership Program, and groups of students went to southern Florida during summer breaks to work with agencies serving farmworkers.
SAF incorporated as a non-profit
• Carolyn Corrie, a summer 1990 intern, worked with students, farmworker advocates, farmworkers, and community members to incorporate SAF as a nonprofit, housed at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
• SAF began supporting the Farm Labor Organizing Committee's (FLOC) efforts to explore organizing in NC.
First official SAF summer internship
• First official SAF summer internship and leadership development program, Into the Fields, was established.
• Longtime SAF Executive Director, Melinda Wiggins, was one of the first class of official interns.
• From the Ground Up became SAF's newsletter that was published three times a year.
• SAF began to use theater to address the needs of students from farmworker families.
SAF expanded with CAMP
• SAF expanded to increase participation of students from farmworker families by recruiting through College Assistance Migrant Programs (CAMP) across the U.S.
• SAF held our first End of Summer celebration to honor our students' work providing access to health, legal, and education resources to farmworkers.
• SAF alumni Alejandra Okie Hollister and Mike Seguin created an annual need-based scholarship to support an undergraduate student from a farmworker family to attend NC State University. The scholarship is still going strong today.
• The United Farm Workers (UFW) ended their boycott on the Chateau St. Michelle wine. This was one of the first campaigns SAF interns worked on.
• SAF collaborated with NC Public Allies to hire a ten-month apprentice who created an Intern Referral Service, which included contact information and needs of farmworker organizations nationwide.
• SAF was awarded the first Peace Prize from the North Carolina Peace Corps Association for our work helping people to help themselves, and promoting peace and cross-cultural understanding.
• SAF responded to requests of expanding nationally by organizing the first Sowing Seeds for Change Symposium in collaboration with Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.
New Program: Levante
• SAF published Into the Fields: Mobilizing Students to Work with Farmworkers on Campuses and in Communities, a guide for beginning a successful internship program.
• SAF began partnering with the NC Migrant Education Program (MEP) to address the educational needs of migrant students across the state through a new program, Project Levante ("to raise up").
• SAF was recognized by the Migrant Health Program of the Bureau of Primary Health Care for its dedication and commitment to our nation's migrant farmworkers and their families.
• SAF partnered with Literacy Through Photography in a project for youth to use images as catalysts for verbal and written expression.
National Farmworker Awareness Week
• SAF called for a National Farmworker Awareness Week to link campus groups nationally with speakers, films and resources.
• Living the American Dream publication was released by 1998 SAF interns, using poems, photographs, oral histories and short stories to reflect their experiences working with farmworkers and their families.
• SAF supported the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) as they began to organize farmworkers in North Carolina and called a boycott of Mt. Olive Pickles.
A protest sign made to support the Mt. Olive Pickle Company Boycott in 1999
• SAF interns performed the Luis Valdez play Los Vendidos to farmworker camps in NC.
• SAF began a long partnership with the Center for Documentary Studies on the "Farmworkers in NC" class.
• SAF was awarded the Fund for Southern Communities' Helen's Fund Award for our work with young people in the South.
• SAF continued to support migrant students statewide by coordinating College Days and retreats for those interested in starting Action, Inspiration, Motivation (AIM) Clubs at their local schools.
• SAF began supporting the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) and farmworkers who worked in an alliance to "target major corporate buyers". This was later coined as the "national Campaign for Fair Food", which uses consumer power to end farm labor exploitation.
The Human Cost of Food
• SAF celebrated its 10 year anniversary.
• The University of Texas Press published The Human Cost of Food: Farmworkers' Lives, Labor and Advocacy, an anthology addressing farmworkers' lives in the southeastern U.S. that was co-edited by SAF Executive Director Melinda Wiggins and SAF supporter Charlie Thompson.
• Cultured Ground / Tierra Aculturada documentary publication focused on the cultural, artistic and religious traditions of farmworkers in the Carolinas.
• Recollections of Home / Recuerdos de Mi Tierra, a traveling photo exhibit and publication, featured images and narratives of farmworkers' cultural traditions.
• SAF was awarded a Defenders of Justice Award from the NC Justice Center for its work fighting against poverty in the area of grassroots empowerment.
• SAF Executive Director Melinda Wiggins was awarded the first NC Community Shares Leadership Award for her long-term commitment to supporting Shares' and its member social justice organizations.
• SAF began working with NC Triangle area nonprofits and individuals to organize the Durham stop-off of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride inspired by the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement.
• SAF worked with the Rural Women's Health Project based in Florida to develop two Spanish language fotonovelas, Doña Genoveva: Manos que Brindan Salud and Tallando Tradiciones based on cultural traditions of farmworkers that SAF interns met.
• SAF began working more intensely with the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals (NCSHP), NC Justice Center, and El Pueblo to address the lack of educational opportunities for Latino and migrant youth. Together, we worked with Senator Reeves to introduce SB 987 - the first in-state tuition bill for undocumented students.
• SAF helped form a statewide coalition – the Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) – that works to improve living and working conditions of field and poultry workers in North Carolina.
Adelante Education Coalition
• SAF received the Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award by World Hunger Year for SAF's "innovative approaches to fighting domestic hunger and poverty by empowering people and building self-reliance".
• SAF was recognized for its role in the annual Student Labor Week of Action by the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award.
• In the summer of 2004, SAF met with key organizations to discuss educational issues affecting Latino and migrant youth. These groups, including El Pueblo, NC Justice Center, MDC, College Foundation of NC, NC Migrant Education Program, and the NC Society of Hispanic Professionals, formed the Adelante Education Coalition.
• The end of the Mt. Olive Pickle boycott resulted in the largest labor contract in NC history.
Sowing Seeds for Change Fellowship
• SAF's Sowing Seeds for Change Fellowship was established for advanced university students to support farmworkers in key areas along the East Coast.
• National Student Organizer Laxmi Hummel supported a delegation to Mexico with Witness for Peace that focused on the effects of U.S. policies on Mexico.
• First bilingual newsletter of From the Ground Up was published.
Migrant Housing Act
• SAF worked with the Farmworker Advocacy Network on the Housing Effective Campaign which culminated in an addendum to the Migrant Housing Act of North Carolina stating “Each migrant shall be provided with a bed that shall include a mattress in good repair with a clean cover.” Prior to this, farmworkers were often provided with beds, but no mattresses.
• SAF teamed up with DC-based STITCH on a delegation to Guatemala where alumni learned about the impact of migration on sending communities and gained a full perspective on the root causes of immigration.
• SAF interns helped launch the United Food and Commercial Workers' (UFCW) Justice at Smithfield campaign by participating in direct actions.
• Along with the NC Council of Churches and other partner organizations, the first annual NC Farmworker Institute Networking Event occurred. The purpose of the event is to "bring together farmworker advocates to share skills, knowledge, and resources to improve the lives and working conditions of farmworkers and their families."
• SAF celebrated its quinceañera!
• SAF received the NCYT Spark Award for Outstanding Non-Profit to Work For, for its workplace culture, emphasis on anti-oppression work, and creative organizing strategies.
• SAF supports the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in their boycott of Burger King which resulted in a 2008 agreement to extend the Fair Food principles to the chain.
• SAF was featured on the cover of the local Independent Weekly (INDY) newspaper with Mosi Secret's article that was a testament to SAF's impact on the community.
• SAF, along with the Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN), worked with NC legislators to make changes to the Migrant Housing Act, which included the NC Department of Labor prioritizing worst housing violators, clean and sanitary mattresses, alternative housing provided if housing is uninhabitable, records of housing inspections and violations to be made public, and a study for the need for the development and rehabilitation of farmworker housing.
Nuestras Historias, Nuestros Sueños
• SAF worked with the Center for Documentary Studies to create Nuestras Historias, Nuestros Sueños / Our Stories, Our Dreams, a documentary publication and traveling exhibit about the hopes and dreams of Latino migrant youth and their families.
• SAF won the annual Community Partner Award from the APPLES Service-Learning Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.
• SAF and the Adelante Education Coalition produced a bilingual parents' guide, Mis Hijos Van a la Escuela, that covers everything from how to register your child for school to the discipline process and parent-teacher conferences.
• SAF collaborated with the NC Humanities Council to produce NC Crossroads, a bilingual publication on health care and farmworkers.
• SAF received the 2009 Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Award.
• SAF began participating in the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs' (AFOP) Children in the Fields Campaign.
• SAF’s Petrow-Freeman Documentary Award provided funding & support to help SAF alumni complete original documentary projects focusing on farmworkers and social change.
• SAF's Levante youth wrote and performed ¿Qué CulpaTengo Yo? a play about the obstacles that immigrant students face when trying to achieve their dreams of education.
• SAF coordinated the 10thannual National Farmworker Awareness Week.
• The Farmworker Advocacy Network worked with legislators to introduce a bill on pesticide safety; an amended version of the original bill passed!
Student Organizing School
• SAF's Student Organizing School was established to train a small group of students in NC to be leaders in the farmworker movement.
• SAF hosted the first class of Sowing Seeds for Change Health Fellows (now the Into the Fields fellowship), a six month leadership development program for recent graduates to improve farmworkers' access to healthcare and advocate for improved living and working conditions.
• SAF won Glaxo Smith Kline's 2nd Annual Impact Award in recognition of our outstanding achievements in providing access to healthcare for the underserved.
• SAF received a $100,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Foundation in celebration of their 10th anniversary to further our impact.
• SAF staff participated in a delegation to Oaxaca, Mexico, with Witness for Peace to learn more about workers who migrate to the U.S., particularly from indigenous communities.
• SAF and the Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) launched the Harvest of Dignity campaign and accompanying documentary film during Thanksgiving weekend, marking 50 years since Harvest of Shame appeared on CBS in 1960.
First Día de los Muertos
• SAF was honored as one of five winners of the 2011 AARP Multicultural Outreach Award for contributions to diversity and inclusion, focusing on marginalized people.
• SAF launched its new bilingual website.
• Along with the Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN), SAF coordinated the first Día de los Muertos "Day of the Dead" press conference and fiesta where NC Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry heard powerful testimonies from farmworkers, youth, and a former inspector of her department.
• FAN worked with legislators to introduce a child labor bill with bipartisan support; it did not pass.
• In celebration of SAF's 20th anniversary, youth from the Levante Leadership Institute worked with the Beehive Design Collective to create a portable, fabric, graphic mural to tell their stories and highlight SAF's 20 years of work in the farmworker movement.
• SAF published 20 Years of Growing Farmworker Activists, a booklet of original documentary photographs, quotes from SAF alumni, and a history of the organization and its programs.
• SAF received the NC Folklore Society's 2012 Community Traditions Award for twenty years of producing collaborative documentary work between students and agricultural workers in their communities in North Carolina.
• SAF Executive Director Melinda Wiggins was honored by the White House as a César Chávez Champion of Change for dedicating herself to improving the lives of others throughout her community and across the nation.
• Local college students worked with the Duke Human Rights Archive and Duke Libraries to curate two exhibitions using SAF's and other related archives: SAF: 20 Years of Growing Farmworker Activists and Documenting the Politics of Food.
• SAF published a Spanish language newsletter for farmworkers.
Bilingual Theater guide
• SAF staff and Sowing Seeds for Change Fellows began attending the East Coast Migrant Stream Forum, which brings together an extensive network of people working on farmworker issues.
• SAF created Theater in the Fields: A Guide for Dynamic Outreach with Farmworkers, a bilingual theater guide, website, logo and film showcasing SAF's theater work to teach others to use theater and the arts for dynamic education with workers and Latinos.
• SAF launched Field Notes, its blog of student stories from the field.
• SAF was the community partner recipient of Duke’s Betsy Alden Outstanding Service-Learning Award.
• SAF and the Adelante Education Coalition partnered with Hispanics in Philanthropy to coordinate a four-year project, Triangle for Latino Student Success, which aimed to increase the number of Latino students in the Triangle region of NC graduating from a higher educational institution.
• SAF began holding regular alumni socials to hear what alumni are up to, catch them up on SAF’s work, and find out what they need in order to stay involved in the farmworker movement.
Launch of Solidaridad Internship program
• SAF launched the academic year Solidaridad Internship program to train students on the farmworker justice movement and gain nonprofit leadership skills.
• The Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) was honored with the 2014 Indy Citizen Award.
• FAN's Harvest of Dignity film, which was directed by Minnow Media, received the "Best Documentary/Topical" award in the Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards.
• SAF's Levante Leadership Institute was recognized as a finalist for the 2014 Examples of Excelencia awards as one of the most effective in the nation at increasing Latino student success.
• SAF received the Research Triangle Cross-Class Bridge Builder award for our work with people of diverse classes and races and supporting the leadership of working class people.
• In an effort to gain in-state tuition for undocumented students, the Adelante Education Coalition launched the Let’s Learn NC campaign
Music Therapy Project
• SAF helped coordinate the first South Carolina Farmworker Institute.
• SAF's Advocacy & Organizing Director, Nadeen Bir-Zaslow, was selected as a Southern Foodways Alliance 2015 Smith Symposium Fellow and honored for her impact on the southern region and its foodways.
• The Adelante Education Coalition was awarded the 2015 Latino Diamante Award for making significant contributions to the Latino/Hispanic community of North Carolina.
• SAF’s Levante Leadership Institute worked with a class at the Center for Documentary Studies on a music therapy project to write the song El Sueño Americano and record a music video about their experiences in farm work.
Farmworker Justice Activism Award
• SAF received the Farmworker Justice Activism Award for its work educating, mentoring and mobilizing students.
• SAF worked with other members of the Adelante Education Coalition to get the first bi-partisan in-state tuition bill introduced into the NC General Assembly.
• SAF began collaborating with Literacy Through Photography at the Center for Documentary Studies to lead participatory documentary workshops and projects with interns, fellows, youth, and farmworkers in NC and SC.
• SAF celebrated 25 years of working to improve farmworkers' lives with young activists
• In collaboration with UNC Libraries, SAF curated a documentary retrospective of photographs and stories from farmworkers over the past 25 years, Más de una historia / More Than One Story.
• SAF was honored with the GSK IMPACT Award for our work addressing critical community health challenges
• In collaboration with Code the Dream, SAF developed ConéctateCarolina.org, an app that helps North Carolina farmworkers locate resources in their areas and alert them of natural disasters.
• SAF Into the Fields interns conducted focus groups with 36 farmworkers to learn about their experiences with computers and Wi-Fi hotspots placed in their camps
• SAF’s Levante Leadership Institute exhibited I Wouldn’t Want to Be Anyone Else, artwork and personal narratives from a two-year collaborative project with Literacy Through Photography
• In partnership with the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Program's (AFOP) Children In the Fields Campaign, SAF Solidaridad interns created José Learns About Pesticides, a pesticide safety video for children.
Voices from the Fields
• SAF's Levante youth group created Voices From the Fields, an informational video series about occupational and mental health in a TV-show format.
• SAF partnered on Cultivating Justice, an exhibit and mural with artist Cornelio Campos, the Duke Campus Farm, and Duke professor Charlie Thompson & his students.
• SAF mentored a peer group of alumni working with farmworkers, Latinos, and immigrants in NC to support them to stay in the movement.
Melinda Wiggins celebrates 25 years at SAF
Executive Director Melinda Wiggins celebrated 25 years at SAF! Melinda was an intern in the first official Into the Fields program in 1993 and has been at SAF ever since.
SAF's Response to Covid-19
• SAF gave $47,500 in mutual aid to alumni and current SAF participants from farmworker families from a new Farmworker Emergency Fund.
• SAF distributed 6,000 facemasks to farmworkers and their families.
• SAF worked with the Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) to coordinate services, send letters to state leaders, organize press conferences, and circulate petitions to advocate for worker protections and enforcement of COVID recommendations to farmworkers and their families.
SAF has a new home!
• SAF moved into new offices at the W.G. Pearson Center in Durham, a space for youth-centered organizations that advocate for equitable community improvements. A special thank you to the Center for Documentary Studies where SAF was based for over 25 years! We are grateful for their support and partnership.
• SAF launched the Cosecha Fellowship program to support SAF alums to sustain their work in the farmworker movement.
• SAF created the video, Stories from the Fields in The time of COVID, from interns' documentary work gathering stories from farmworkers about how they're coping amidst the pandemic.
SAF's 30th and a transition to a new director
• SAF celebrates our 30th anniversary as a nonprofit!
• After 28 years as SAF's executive director, Melinda Wiggins transitions out of SAF to a new job supporting worker organizing in the South.
• SAF welcomes a new director, Sylvia Zapata Shoemaker, a 2001 SAF alum from a farmworker family who has spent her career working on public health issues that impact farmworkers and migrant families
• SAF held the event "Grown with Black Hands," a panel discussion with former Black sharecroppers and tenant farmers to share stories of their histories in the fields.