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Agriculture Commissioner Fried Calls on Gov. DeSantis to Put More Inclusive Policies in Place for Latino Farmworkers

Photo: Peter Wendt
Photo: Peter Wendt

Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried celebrated Latino farmworkers in Miami today, on the second day of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Fried says more than 5,000 farms in the state are owned and run by Latino farm operators, accounting for some 1.5 billion dollars in profits. 

She’s calling for policies that would support these workers and their families at the state level during the pandemic. 

“I believe Florida should be a diverse, inclusive state where all people of Hispanic origin are welcome. From recent immigrants to those who have been here for generations. As a state we sometimes fall short of the inclusive goal but we can and should always work to do better."

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One of these farm owners is Alicia del Aguila, a DACA recipient from Peru who runs Aloha Redland Farm, an organic, all non-GMO farm in Homestead.  

“Um, we love hearing them say, 'wow this kale just gave me life! This tomato tastes like a tomato'. They tell us these things. And we are so proud, and I am so proud to be able to grow food for people and empower them in the kitchen to nurture themselves, their bodies and also their family.”

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The DeSantis administration has been criticized for not providing farmworkers with adequate PPE and testing. 

In June, Florida Democrats called on DeSantis to apologize for comments he made blaming Hispanic day-laborers for a spike in cases. 

If you'd like to listen to this story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.