December 16, 2005

Imperial Valley EDD Serves Breakfast to Farm Workers

This past Saturday morning in the wee early hours employees of the state Employment Development Department (EDD), in Imperial Valley, put on their cooks hats and hosted close to 3,000 field laborers breakfast in appreciation of all that the farm workers contribute to the valley - this the 26th annual Farm Workers Appreciation Breakfast.

What began as free coffee and donuts served by EDD in 1979 to a few farm workers has evolved into an event that now serves field laborers breakfasts of tamales, beans, salsa, pan dulce, salad, juice and coffee.

Norma Jauregui, local EDD director, explained the breakfast honors farm workers who contribute greatly to the Valley’s economy by toiling in the local fields that provide food for people around the state, nation and the world.

“It’s important because it shows how supportive the whole community is by coming together to support the farm workers. ... Agriculture is a major industry in Imperial County and if we don’t have the farm workers, then we don’t harvest the crops,” said Jauregui.

David Perez Tejada, an employee with the Mexicali city government, helps serve breakfast to agricultural field workers during the 26th Farmworker Appreciation Breakfast at the California state Employment Development Department in Calexico, California. Everyday in the early morning hours thousands of laborers from Mexicali cross the border with work visas to board buses, which transport them to agricultural fields in southern Arizona and the Imperial Valley. The breakfast, which served more than 3,000 workers, is in recognition of the workers’ efforts and economic contribution to California. Photo - David Maung

Hildy Carrillo-Rivera, executive director of the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, noted the breakfast was about showing farm workers they’re appreciated and valued by the community.

“These are people that are honest and hard working. They spend money in the community. They give back to the community,” said Carrillo-Rivera.

Gilberto Rodriguez, United Farm Workers of America organizer and national representative, explained the breakfast was a nice gesture by the community showing its appreciation of farm workers. Rodriguez added farm workers are deserving of more than just one breakfast a year.

“They feed the world. The bring food to our tables. Something else should be done besides this breakfast. They deserve medical benefits for their families, better pay and better working conditions,” said Rodriguez.

Story derived from the Imperial Valley Press, Calexico.

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