On Monday, June 22nd, a group of volunteers from the Farmworker Association of Florida traveled to UCF's school of Health and Public Affairs to present to a wonderful group of high school students participating in a health care careers camp. The camp is organized every year by the Central Florida Area Health Education Center (or AHEC) and this is the second year they've invited us to share the stories of Lake Apopka and farmworkers throughout the state.
FWAF staff started the night off with a moving presentation meant to get the kids thinking about where their food comes from and how it is produced. Long time volunteer and friend of FWAF, Sarah Downs, presented on the history of Lake Apopka, its muck farms and its farmworkers. Because of the audience, the presentation was slightly tailored and an emphasis put on discussing the health implications of farmwork and prolonged exposure to pesticides. Students broke out into their special groups--Cheetoh Girls + 1, Silver Surfers, Green Goblins, and Banana Splits--to read scenarios and answer probing questions.
The Lake Apopka Farmworker Memorial quilts (though not there in person) and the video "Out of the Muck" put a human face on the issues we were discussing. Volunteers Dustin Baetz and Pia Desangles then talked and led a discussion about the benefits of sustainable agriculture. The students were engaged, curious, and truly impacted by the presentation.