North Carolina Cooperative Extension recently held the first Wayne County Farmworkers Appreciation Festival, to recognize and educate farmworkers and their families. The Sept. 6 event took place at the Wayne County fairgrounds in Goldsboro. More than 500 people attended, 360 of whom were farmworkers and their families.
Participants had opportunities to be given health and dental screenings, as well as to visit information booths from 21 agencies to learn about the community services available to them.
The festival also included entertainment activities, emphasizing the importance of having fun as part of workers’ mental health. Among these offerings were DJ Latino music that played throughout the event, soccer matches, a 4-H Latino Folkloric Dance Club performance, raffles and children’s games, along with food and drinks.
Staffing the event were 50 high-school and college students, representatives from participating agencies and community member volunteers. Growers supported the festival by providing transportation to workers.
The festival’s success can be attributed to the work of the planning committee, led by Luis Cruz, Extension Farmworkers Health and Safety educator. The committee included members of the Wayne County Community Partners Coalition.
Among the many positive survey responses from the participants were: “Congratulations on the great information provided and recognizing us farmworkers”; “Thank you very much for the services”; “The festival was great and thanks for inviting us”; “Well organized and great, thanks”; “Great program”; “Please have it every year”; and “Very enjoyable, thanks.”
Participating agencies included AMEXCAN, Arts Council of Wayne County, Consulate General of Mexico, Community Care for Children, ECU School of Nursing, FFA, Green County Health Care, Goshen Medical Clinic, Legal Aid, Liberty Tax, Literacy Connections, N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Farm Bureau, NCCES More in My Basket, WAGES, WATCH Clinic, Wayne County Community College, Wayne County Cooperative Extension, Wayne County Health Department, Wayne County Public Library and Wells Fargo.
Sponsors for the event were Franklin Baking Company, Kornegay Family Farms and Produce, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Mt. Olive Pickles, N.C. Farm Bureau, Pepsi, Philip Morris International and Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.
For further information about the event and/or the Wayne County Extension Farmworkers Health and Safety Education, contact Luis Cruz at 919-210-8805 or Luis.Cruz@waynegov.com.