The Sisters of Charity Foundation is announcing the release of a Research Brief on Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers in South Carolina. From sun-up to sun-down, migrant and seasonal farmworkers work to support South Carolina’s multi-billion dollar agribusiness sector and economy. Farmworkers plan, cultivate, harvest, process, pack for market and store fresh foods that feed families each day. “Migrant and seasonal farmworkers play an integral role as they work to support local farms across South Carolina especially during the summer months,” said Tom Keith, Foundation President.
Authored by Foundation Senior Research Director Dr. Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, the Research Brief addresses the contributions and challenges farmworkers in South Carolina face based on research, interviews and site visits, and Listening Session held in collaboration with Student Action with Farmworkers. The brief identifies five areas where change is needed to strengthen families – the broken labor system, dangerous working conditions, poverty-level wages, substandard housing and challenges children face accessing school. The brief concludes with concrete steps individuals can take to stand in solidarity and support the farmworker movement.
As part of the Foundation’s Immigrant Families Initiative launched in June 2014, Student Action with Farmworkers is a current recipient of a $34,000 grant to provide outreach to over 750 farmworkers and their families in rural South Carolina this summer. They place bilingual interns to serve, some of whom are from farmworker families themselves, with local organizations to provide information on accessing health, education, legal and other family support services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers.