Sonoma County farmworkers organize filing ahead of deadline for evacuation zone policy

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Over 50 Sonoma County Businesses and Organizations Sign Open Letter Supporting Adoption of Formal Local Policy Addressing Farmworker Health and Safety Concerns

Santa Rosa, California, April 6, 2022 – With the intensifying drought and another unpredictable wildfire season on the horizon, farmworkers continue to push the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to adopt a formal, local wildfire evacuation zone policy that addresses concerns. health and safety of agricultural workers before June 1. The “Country Tales / Voices from the Frontlines” will highlight worker testimonials and will be held on Monday, April 6, from 5-7 pm in front of the Sonoma County Administration Building.

North Bay Jobs with Justice, a grassroots coalition based in Santa Rosa, has been circulating a open letterHe went to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors with calls for a local policy that addresses farmworker concerns by including language justice, hazard pay, and disaster insurance in a formal evacuation zone policy. “It is grossly irresponsible to let another year go by, let alone a few months, without formalizing these basic health and safety measures,” the letter says, “Our ability to respond effectively to the impacts of climate change depends on our ability to integrate the agency and the voices of those most directly affected”.

To date, 58 businesses and organizations have signed the charter, including several agricultural and wine-related businesses such as Front Porch Farm, EARTHSeed Farm, Idlewild Wines, Legend Imports, The Vinguard, Red H Farm, B-Side Farm , Justice Grace. Vineyards, Pollen & Fox, Laguna Farm Chiatri, Miracle Plum and Coyote Family Farm.

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Zoe Hitchner, farm manager at Front Porch Farms, a 110-acre organic farm outside of Healdsburg, affirmed her support, saying, “Farmworkers are the backbone of this county and they shouldn’t have to choose between personal safety and security. financial stability. We need to adapt to a changing climate.”

According to the US drought monitorAlmost all of Sonoma County has now returned to “extreme” drought conditions, as well as 40% of the entire state of California. Wildfire experts predict that dry fuel loads, coupled with extreme weather events brought on by climate change, such as windstorms, dry lighting and heat waves, have set the conditions for increased risk of fire during longer periods of the year.

Pandora Thomas, founder and land steward at EARTHSeed Permaculture Center and Farm, a black-owned organic farm in Sebastopol, acknowledges the leadership of farmworkers as stewards of the land: “The central voice that will guide us in these times is those whose lives have been spent caring for our land and feeding our communities. [Farmworkers] Please continue to show us what resiliency looks and feels like when equity is at the core, and as an agricultural administrator in Sonoma County, I am honored to learn from and partner with my sisters and brothers on this journey.”

North Bay Jobs with Justice is a growing grassroots coalition of 32 labor and community organizations building power and winning economic and racial justice for workers on the front lines of climate change.

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