Recognizing that the social context of the workplace environment contributes to health inequities within and across generations, and the need to amplify and integrate this understanding in the field of occupational and environmental health to prevent, mitigate and take action to achieve worker safety, health and well-being in the farmworker population, Lisbeth Iglesias-Rios and Alexis J. Handal developed the Michigan Farmworker Project (MFP) in 2019.
The MFP evolved organically as a community-engaged collaboration between state and regional farmworker service provision entities (Office of the Migrant Affairs, Migrant Resource Councils) and legal services organizations (Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and Farmworker Legal Services). The MFP employs community-based participatory principles (CBPR) principles and Critical Race Theory as both are suitable for social epidemiologic research with farmworkers, a historically marginalized and oppressed population.
Why Our Work Matters
- Approximately three million farmworkers work in the US; most are Latinx (~80%) and of Mexican descent, ~65% (Agricultural Safety, 2020).
- Latinx workers are overrepresented in occupations like agriculture (Hernandez & Gabbard, 2016) where low wages, informal working arrangements and excessive working hours are common (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- The state of Michigan has a $104.7 billion annual agricultural industry, second in crop diversity only to California (MDARD, 2019).
- The most recent enumeration study conducted in the state in 2013 estimated ~94,000 migrant and seasonal farmworkers including household members (Larson, 2013).