There are many heat stress prevention strategies for farmworkers that focus on correcting either individual behaviors (e.g., avoiding caffeinated beverages and bulky sweatshirts) or workplace conditions (e.g., providing shade and regular break periods). Yet, few heat stress-specific health plans take into consideration the conditions of the built and natural environment that farmworkers are returning to at the end of a long day in the fields.

Vallerye Mosquera

Vallerye Mosquera

Vallerye Mosquera is a master’s student in Community and Regional Development at UC Davis. At UCD, she has served as a graduate student researcher for a study of immigrant and refugee serving organizations in the Sacramento region. She is also a part-time Bilingual Sexual Assault Victim Advocate for the Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Center in Yolo County. Prior to attending UC Davis, her work experience included outreach and environmental advocacy to Spanish-speaking communities in the United States and Latin America. Between 2005 and 2006, Vallerye earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the New College of Florida which led to a Fulbright research scholarship in Quito, Ecuador where she was responsible for evaluating social and environmental policies related to solid waste disposal. Mrs. Mosquera is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

(All names used are pseudonyms, in order to preserve interviewees' confidentiality)

 

Nadia: "You really can't run against a white guy. You can't. You're going to lose, regardless whether the population, whether we outnumber them. I think they'll still win."

 

Interviewer: "Why do you think that?"

 

Nadia: "I think they can brainwash us, because we work for them. In farm labor. We work for them in the rice fields. We work for them in the orchards. We work for them."

 

 

 

In Colusa County (located in the northern Sacramento Valley), Latinos comprise 55 percent of the total population, but there are no Latino representatives on the two city councils or among the five county supervisors (US Census, 2010).[i] In fact, there are only two Latino elected officials in the entire county: one on a local school board and the other on the county’s school board. As of March 2012, there were 14 majority-minority[ii] cities in California with all non-Latino white city councils, and there were 20 majority-minority California cities with only one minority member on the city council.[iii] With similar situations arising in political districts across the United States, the study of the potential causes for this phenomenon is timely.

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There are many heat stress prevention strategies for farmworkers that focus on correcting either individual behaviors (e.g., avoiding caffeinated beverages and bulky sweatshirts) or workplace conditions (e.g., providing shade and regular break periods). Yet, few heat stress-specific health plans take into consideration the conditions of the built and natural environment that farmworkers are returning to at the end of a long day in the fields.

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Farmworker Interviews Reveal Heat Stress Illness

Risk Factors at Home

With funding from University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, researchers at UC Davis and the California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) recently partnered with the Organizacion de Trabajadores Agricolas de California (OTAC) to conduct interviews with farmworkers in the Stockton area. We hoped to learn more about the off-farm environmental factors that could contribute to the risk for heat stress illness among farmworkers. The interview results will assist the research team in identifying household and community factors that may contribute to heat stress illness in farmworker communities. 

 

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By Gail Wadsworth and Vallerye Mosquera

With funding from University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, CIRS is partnering with Dr. Michael Rios and Vallerye Mosquera from UC, Davis, and Luis Magaña from the Organizacion de Trabajadores Agricolas de California, to complete a community-based risk assessment tool for heat stress.  This tool is unique in that it is focusing on the risk of heat stress to farmworkers within their communities.  In other words:  off the farm.

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in Farm Labor 14273 0
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