Create a Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) to improve health and remediate disproportionate exposure to agricultural pollution in farmworker communities in California’s Salinas Valley.
Need Addressed By Project
In most of the country, families can drink tap water, children can play outside, and workers can earn a living without worrying that those activities will make them sick. In the Salinas Valley, residents cannot participate in these everyday activities without jeopardizing their health. Agricultural pollution stemming from the use of pesticides and fertilizers exposes entire communities to toxins capable of causing cancer, infertility and birth defects, and developmental delays. Aaron’s Fellowship serves the farmworkers, children, and families who sacrifice their health to put food on our plates.
Highlights to Date
In the first year, Aaron has:
- Started a MLP with the Monterey County Health Department and developed and circulated promotional materials about MLP;
- Provided brief legal services to more than 150 patients with health-harming legal needs through MLP and walk-ins;
- Fully-represented five clients, helping clients recover stolen wages, improve living conditions at their dwelling, and win insurance coverage for medical expenses;
- Assisted with one high-impact litigation which successfully challenged a regulation that disproportionately exposed rural communities of color to the pesticide Telone;
- Conducted trainings for approximately 200 healthcare providers with the goal of helping pregnant farmworker women access disability insurance; increased awareness about disability insurance would give farmworker women the choice to stop working earlier in pregnancy and reduce harmful pesticide exposures for them and their unborn children.
In the next year, Aaron plans to:
- Provide brief legal services to an additional 150 patients with health-harming legal needs;
- Continue to improve integrated medical-legal services for pregnant farmworker women, such as workshops to educate families about job-protected leave, wage replacement programs, and reasonable accommodations;
- Create guide for representing clients exposed to pesticides;
- Increase outreach to farmworker women of reproductive age;
- Secure funding and partnerships for a pesticide biomonitoring program at Health Department clinic.