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Alianza Nacional de Campesinas launches Satchel Campaign

The life of a farmworker woman is this: she has to work in the sun, the rain, the fog… They are forced to work because they have to support their families.


I was working picking bell peppers. One time I got very sick. My eyes were irritated and I had a stomachache, vomited, had diarrhea, everything. I didn’t know - I didn’t understand why this happened to me.


- Testimony by Blanca Flores, Líderes Campesinas


On January 15, 2015, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, Inc. (National Farmworker Women’s Alliance) launched the Satchel Campaign to create public awareness about the health risks of pesticide exposure for farmworker women across the United States.


On January 13, five representatives of the Alianza spoke with Delia Saldivar of Radio Bilingüe about the campaign. They shared stories about farmworkers’ experiences with pesticides, as well as information about new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations regarding the use of pesticides in the fields.


Listen to the program from the Voy Contratado: Migrant Rights on Radio series here.


These new regulations, released by the EPA in the fall of 2015, establish new worker protections for farmworkers who are exposed to pesticides. “This is truly an important victory for us,” said Paola Betchart of the Worker Justice Center of New York. “These regulations had not been updated since 1992, and the changes represent years of work by several organizations across the country.”


New worker protections include:


  • Workers should receive an annual raining about pesticides and health, with high quality information presented by a person who has received EPA training;
  • Workers must be at least 18 years old to work in the fields;
  • People should have access to information about the chemicals that are used in the fields where they work;
  • Some workers should receive respirators to work, depending on the chemicals they work with.


As part of the Satchel Campaign, the organizations that make up Alianza de Campesinas will organize events where people will decorate satchels with images, stories, and information about the impact of pesticides on their health. “Making an effort to include directly affected people in making and designing art demonstrates that people themselves can help create change. That is what we believe,” said Mily Treviño Sauceda, director of Alianza.


Throughout January and February, campaign events will be organized in Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, New York, Washington, and Mexico. You can find more information about those events on Alianza Campesina’s Facebook page.


Have you worked in fields where pesticides are used? Visit to read other people’s stories and share your own experience. Share your story today to help build the movement for informed labor migration!

Photo: Líderes Campesinas