Rights for African American Farm Workers
A quick update of our progress and some exciting news:
We’re intensively editing with Emily and are thrilled that things are starting to take shape quite nicely. We’ve done a couple of quick reshoots – mainly awesome time lapses of grocery stores!
We also wanted to share something very special that took place last week ...
You may have eaten a piece of fruit or vegetable touched by these women's hands. Betty DuBose, Geraldine Matthew, and Linda Lee all grew up in Apopka, FL - a large farming town a few miles away from Orlando.
From the 1960s Apopka was an agricultural breadbasket, providing a large share of produce to the Eastern seaboard during the winter season. The Trio - as we call them - grew up picking vegetables in the scorching sun, some traveling up and down the coast following the harvest.
We cherish a romantic notion of working with the earth, surrounded by family, knowing that your contribution to feeding a nation cannot be underestimated. Indeed, their whole lives were spent on these farms; their children grew up picking vegetables alongside them.
Amidst this all-American narrative, however, is a story of misfortune – of crop dusters routinely spraying pesticides on them; having to clear out chicken coops to spend a night indoors; children born with learning disabilities due to exposure of their mothers to pesticides when pregnant; and to top it off…
In the late 1990’s, Lake Apopka, which bordered the farmland, had become an environmental disaster due to fertilizer and pesticide runoff. To save the lake, the government purchased the adjacent farmland from corporations for over $100 million. During the complex negotiation, the farm workers were forgotten and received no compensation for their lifetime of service. Many were summarily fired upon the finalization of the farmland sale. They were left without resources and those who lived on the farms, without shelter.
This was a defining moment for all; for some it was transformational.
The Trio joined the Florida Farmworkers Association as activists and after 15 years of fighting for justice, their work has finally been recognized at a national level, through their participation in this film.
As part of the film, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, spoke to the Trio on the phone and subsequently was inspired to read their story into the Congressional Record in a moving tribute on the House Floor, ensuring that the story of the Apopka Farmworkers be permanently woven into the fabric of our nation’s history.
Representative Lee read:
These women have worked for over a decade to bring attention to their cause while many of their former colleagues have passed away. Although these women are desperately seeking some relieve and good health, what they ask for more than anything else is…….. dignity.
Dignity so that the contribution of their community in feeding this nation and the sacrifices they made in doing so be recognized. I would, therefore, like to offer my profound and earnest gratitude to these incredible women, to their community and to farm workers across the country - for theirs truly are the hands that feed us.
I believe that it is critical to reaffirm that the needs of the poor and most vulnerable are foremost on our minds and that we will measure the success or failure of ourselves as a nation, based on the success or failure of our working class families.
The 5-minute speech can be viewed in its entirety here.
In case you have friends who missed our Kickstarter campaign, we have a website that accepts donations. We will begin to build it out in the ensuing months.
Once more, gratefully yours,
TEAM FOOD CHAIN
(photo below is of Betty, Linda and Geraldine, respectively)
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Food Chain DVD, a coffee table book, the two signed films, 8x10 portrait and a thank you in the credits. We will also offer a call with the Director to discuss your opinions on the project or your film project (we have tons of experience and advice on what to do and what NOT to do!!) In addition, we will offer you 2 tickets to a film festival at which we screen. Sanjay's last two films have screened at over 100 festivals, so you will have a great selection. (transportation not included)Estimated delivery:
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