The FACTOS – Farm And Community Team Okanagan Similkameen committee is reaching the end of its funded mandate. The project “From Discord To Action: Cultivating Community Change Around Seasonal Farm Work” was started in June of 2012 in an effort to identify and act upon seasonal farm worker issues in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.
Coordinator Lilly Zekanovic of the Penticton & Area Women’s Centre (PAWC) is completing her term of employment on March 31. Arlene Arlow, village councillor in Keremeos, agreed to chair the committee until the end of the first round of funding and beyond. She promises that the efforts to address issues with seasonal farm workers, the community and employers will continue.
Participants in the committee include RDOS Area “G”Director Angelique Wood and RDOS Area”B” Director George Bush.
The first result of the project will be a Seasonal Farm Worker Handbook. The handbook will compile similar booklets created over the years by various organizations, some of which are no longer operating. The booklet will include information on things such as pesticide handling, emergency contact numbers for RCMP and faith-based organizations plus interpersonal tips on what employers expect from their employees.
To join the committee, feel free to contact Keremeos Councillor Arlene Arlow at email@example.com or 250-499-5121. Representation from the community, farmers, farm workers and businesses is welcomed. The project was funded in part by Vancouver Foundation, BC Gaming, South Okanagan Women’s Educational Society and community partners. The committee plans to network through the summer with affected farmers and groups such as the BC Fruit Growers Association and Chambers of Commerce.
The next meeting will be Friday March 15, 10 a.m. at the Penticton And Area Women’s Centre, 209-304 Martin Street in Penticton.