Thursday, October 10, 2013


Eight students and the Coordinator of Academic Service-Learning from Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL camped out, on the floor, at the Farmworker association’s ’s Apopka office on October 4, 2013. That night they learned  about the Farmworker Association’s history, programs, and accomplishments. They watched the film “Los Naranjeros”  to  learn about the lives and realities of the orange pickers.  They also watched “Out of the Muck” about the Lake Apopka farmworkers  and learned about social justice and pesticide exposure.

Bright and early the next morning we all headed for Long & Scott farm in Zellwood to glean sweet corn from a field that was going to be plowed under. We helped harvest by hand  5500 lbs. of corn!! This translates to 16,500 individual servings of corn. Our harvest was loaded on trucks to be delivered to the Second Harvest Food Bank in Orlando for distribution to more than 500 nonprofit agencies throughout the Central Florida area. It was hot, dirty, and a lot of work – and yet everyone wanted to glean again!

  After lunch Jeannie Economos led the Toxic Tour around Lake Apopka. Continuing along the lake we stopped at former farm locations, former farmworker trailer sites, and the Magnolia Park boat ramp. At the boat ramp, an employee of Fish and Wildlife explained the history and current status of the attempts to return Lake Apopka to the viable, unpolluted lake that it once was.

  It was a great experience for the Farmworker Association to have our 1st weekend long visit and with such an enjoyable, eager and interested student group! We plan on this being a long-term  relationship between Eckerd College and the Farmworker Association of Florida.

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