COVID-19 Farmworker Survey Collaboration

Farmworkers harvesting spinach
Photo credit: Hector Amezcua, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis

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Farmworkers are considered essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis and continue to work on California farms and ranches. The California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) is leading a broad coalition of researchers and farmworker advocates to collect data on how COVID-19 is affecting farmworkers. 

"This is a tremendously collaborative effort including many researchers from across California and a wide array of farmworker advocacy groups."

Idli Carlisle-Cummins, director of CIRS, states that “this is a tremendously collaborative effort including many researchers from across California and a wide array of farmworker advocacy groups including Lideres Campesinas, Centro Binacional de para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, and the Farm Worker Care Coalition.” Individuals and organizations from other states, including Oregon, Washington, and Florida, are also involved and intend to conduct the survey with farmworkers in their states.

Given the urgent need for information, the group is meeting multiple times a week and hopes to begin collecting data before the end of April.

A brief phone survey will be conducted with farmworkers to collect critical information on their experiences and abilities to protect themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key informant interviews with farmworker advocates and allies will help to fill in the picture of the virus’ effects on farmworker communities. 

The study will focus on collecting information [...] with the intention of informing policy action and agricultural workplace practices.

The study will focus on collecting information that can only be gathered directly from farmworkers and farmworker-based organizations with the intention of informing policy action and agricultural workplace practices.

Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing multiple crises that will affect the farmworker community, the group will organize its research into phases that capture information about different impacts of the virus on these communities.

The first phase of data collection will address the immediate ways that the virus is affecting the health of farmworkers. The second phase will focus on the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on farmworkers.

WCAHS is providing partial funding for the study and is actively engaged in study development and dissemination plans. For further information about the study, contact Heather Riden at WCAHS (heriden@ucdavis.edu) or Ildi Carlisle-Cummins (icarlisle-cummins@cirsinc.org) at CIRS.

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