Wednesday, April 17, 2013


 An Immersion Experience for Rollins College Students!

      A very special group of Rollins College students in Central Florida spent their weekend in a immersion experience to learn more about the ethnically diverse, low-income community just 10 miles north of their college campus and to learn more about the realities for farmworkers living and working in this community.

       In the hot Florida sun, they spent Saturday morning April 6th in the vegetable fields near Lake Apopka, pulling weeds alongside the farmworkers who were working the land that weekend.  Trying to keep pace with the workers gave the students a taste of what it must be like to do this back-breaking work all day everyday, instead of just for the four hours that they spent in the fields that day.

     After a brief and hurried lunch and a bit of relief in the air-conditioned Rollins JUMP bus, the students came to the office of the Farmworker Association of Florida to begin the Lake Apopka Toxic Tour.  The tour took them back to the fields that they had just worked in earlier in the day, but with a new perspective - that of the unseen dangers related to pesticide contamination and the hazardous living and working conditions for farmworkers.

     Later, along the tour, the group stopped at Magnolia Park in Apopka, where they sat together in a circle and posed deep and probing questions that lead to both an engaging discussion and new and greater insights into issues of social and environmental justice.

    A little tired and a bit wiser, all returned to the FWAF office in Apopka for a few shared insights and a fun group photo.  Toxic tours are intense experiences that leave participants with new questions and a new way of seeing the world of farmworkers and the food that they produce for us to eat.  

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