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Santa Barbara County’s Farmworker Resource Center is now on the road 

Santa Barbara County just launched a mobile Farmworker Resource Center. The van is fully equipped with internet access, computers, meeting areas, etc.
Beth Thornton
Santa Barbara County just launched a mobile Farmworker Resource Center. The van is a fully equipped office that will connect agricultural workers to a variety of services.

Santa Barbara County now has a mobile resource center for farmworkers known as Proyecto Campesino. It’s an office on wheels that provides support to farmworkers and their employers by bringing resources to the agricultural community.

The mobile resource center is a specially-designed van painted with bright images of farmworkers from local fields. This is the first month the county is deploying the van.

Cesar Guerrero is the Program Coordinator. He said the van will move around the county meeting farmworkers and their families in convenient locations, whether that’s near local shops or parks or out in the fields.

“What we’re going to do is connect them with the resources that can provide the services for them whether that’s medical assistance, financial assistance, education, things like that,” Guerrero said.

The van has computers, internet access, printers, and a multilingual staff.

“We will service people in English, Spanish, and Mixteco. We also have a contract with an agency that can provide various types of dialects as well,” he said.

The office-on-wheels is equipped with a large screen, folding chairs, and a retractable sunshade – ideal for larger training and information sessions. Guerrero said his team will work with farmworkers and their employers to plan and schedule visits.

They’re also ready to assist with emergencies and natural disasters.

“For example, in a flood, people obviously need the necessities like food, shelter, all that stuff. We'll definitely set up shop at one of the emergency stations,” Guerrero said.

The Farmworker Resource Center is part of the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services. Guerrero said the van will serve the entire county, and they expect to reach about 8,000 families in the first year.

Beth Thornton is a freelance reporter for KCBX, and a contributor to Issues & Ideas. She was a 2021 Data Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, and has contributed to KQED's statewide radio show The California Report.
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  • "Beyond the Furrows" is a 12-part series about farmworkers in Santa Barbara County. Through feature reporting, KCBX's Francisco Martinez explores a variety of issues this population faces, including wage theft, labor trafficking, access to health care, problems with immigration status and more. Journalism combined with intimate profiles of individual farmworkers provide a comprehensive, in-depth look at the people who make the food we enjoy possible."Beyond the Furrows" received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for News Series and Society of Professional Journalists Northern California's community journalism award."Beyond the Furrows" was funded by a grant from the Sunflower Foundation.