Google+ Followers


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lessons Learned from Lake Apopka!

Lessons Learned from Lake Apopka: The Importance of Sustainable Agriculture for Healthy 
Living educational curriculum was made possible with funding from the Southeastern Environmental Educational Alliance and the Environmental Protection Agency to teach students the role of farmworkers have in our agricultural system, the differences between industrial and sustainable agricultural practice, and the importance of making healthy food choices for health, the environment and farmworker safety.

The curriculum materials have been created to allow educators to easily implement all or parts into their existing lesson plans. Areas of study including but not limited to biological sciences, social studies and environmental studies, are explored in this curriculum. Individual and group exercises, audio-visual presentations and suggestions for further study are part of the materials.

Piloted with middle and high school classes in Central Florida, the curriculum has been presented at the League of Environmental Educators (LEEF) 2014 Conference and will be promoted to teachers by several environmental organizations. To find out more information and download the curriculum materials please visit

Photographs:  Poster presented at the LEEF Conference, Fellsmere FWAF members Community (Campesinos') Gardens (3 photos)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Quilts on display at Tallahassee State Senate building lobby March 31, 2014

The Apopka office of the Farmworker Association of Florida left very early on Monday, 3/31/14 to visit Tallahassee congresspersons at work in their offices at the capitol about immigrant and immigration issues. Groups from the Pierson FWAF and Homestead FWAF offices also traveled the distance for this day of congress visits.  

3 former farmworkers from Lake Apopka, Linda Lee, Betty DeBose, and Mary Ann Robinson, rode with the Apopka FWAF staff and were the spokespersons for the quilts in the lobby of the Senate.

Other groups from Farmworker Self-Help, North Florida Development Corp., Centro Campesions, FLIC, and YAD (Young American Dreamers) joined FWAF and Karen Woodall in preparing an out of doors lunch on the patio of the capitol buildings.  Dancers and speeches were presented during the lunch.

It was a long day for all but our presence was noted by many in the Tallahassee Capitol!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Geraldean Matthew – "A Farmworker, ‘Indomitable Spirit’ " &
former Lake Apopka Farmworker is profiled on Equal Voice News as a Chavez Hero.

Cesar Chavez was born March 31, 1927 and on March 28, 2014 a fictionalized Hollywood film of his life was released country-wide.  During this period of celebration for Cesar Chavez and for National Farmworker Awareness Week, the Equal Voice Newspaper, published by the Marguerite Casey Foundation, a supporter of the Farmworker Association of Florida, celebrated 50 farmworkers  as Chavez Heroes.  One those selected was Geraldean Matthew, a former Lake Apopka farmworker and a continuing strong voice for farmworker rights.

Hero’s nameGeraldean Matthew

Home cityApopka, Fla.

Organization affiliationFarmworker Association of Florida

Why this person is a Community Hero:

“Geraldean Matthew grew up an African American farmworker in the days when there were virtually no regulations to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure, when the most toxic (now banned) pesticides were being used and in the days before the Civil Rights Act was passed. When she was young, she helped care for younger children while their families worked in the fields.

She is my role model and one of my heroes. She cares about her community and has been undaunted in working to make things better and not just for African Americans but for Hispanic and Haitian farmworkers. She has fought for immigration reform. She sees the bigger picture and works unselfishly to make positive change. That translates to her personal life, too, as she is always helping people, even at times when she cannot afford it.

Geraldean has not let the past make her bitter or hateful. She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I have learned so much from her. I hope to be more like her.”

Honored byJeannie Economos of Farmworker Association of Florida

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


By Lani Friend  

 “THEIR DAYS BEGAN ON THE LAKE APOPKA MUCK FARMS at 4 or 5am.  By sunrise, they were hoeing, tilling, weeding, and picking cabbage, cauliflower, corn, and tomatoes. It was backbreaking work, done in all kinds of weather. They risked injury from using sharp tools, lifting and carrying heavy crates, and being exposed to lightning strikes, snakebites, and the burning sun.”
          The Florida Humanities Council Forum Magazine for March, 2014, contains a 5 page article on Lake Apopka farm workers and interviews with former Lake Apopka farm workers Linda Lee and Geraldean Matthew. 

     The article includes photos of the quilts and the process of designing and completing the individual squares.  More information and photos are included of the history of  the farms and the farm workers on the lake.

You can read the article by clicking on this link:  VIDEO

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Public Interest Environmental Conference University of Florida Law School Feb, 2014

The Farmworker Association of Florida was invited to bring the Lake Apopka Quilts and FWAF information to the 2014 Public Interest Environmental Conference held at the University of Florida's Law School in February, 2014.   

The quilts were displayed in the morning during the registration, at the first panel discussion and at the banquet on Friday night.


 This year’s conference explored a variety of legal and environmental issues surrounding  challenges including: providing incentives for sustainable agricultural production, valuing the environmental services sustainable agricultural production provides, technological frontiers in agriculture, and the tension between food safety and environmental protection.

The environmental concerns presented at the conference were the fact that we, as a planet, are rapidly losing arable soils, and that soil erosion reduces the productivity of agricultural and forest ecosystems.  


Increased industrial and municipality demands on water sources will necessitate the development of increased water-use efficiencies concurrently with increased agricultural productivity.  

 The conference brought together diverse perspectives, foster healthy discussions, and pool our collective human and intellectual capital to find timely, beneficial solutions to these issues.
 Thanks to Joan Flocks of the UF Law School and long-time ally of the Association for inviting FWAF to display the quilts at this year's conference.