Equitable Food Initiative Teams Up With University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center to Launch Sexual Harassment Toolkit; Jody Early Discusses
WASHINGTON - Highlighting a crucial and persistent issue facing farmworkers throughout the fresh produce industry, we recently reported on the Equitable Food Initiative’s (EFI) measures to stop sexual harassment. As part of its efforts, the organization has teamed up with the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (PNASH) to provide toolkits and training to increase prevention.
“Many farms lack appropriate training and prevention programs to protect workers and are seeking assistance,” explains Jody Early, Ph.D., M.S., MCHES, and Professor at the University of Washington Bothell. “This was the impetus for the creation of the Basta! Prevent Sexual Harassment in Agriculture training and toolkit. The project was catalyzed by farmworker women from Eastern Washington who brought the issue of sexual harassment as a workplace safety issue to the attention of staff at PNASH.”
After female farmworkers drew attention to the rate of sexual harassment facing farmworkers, PNASH affiliates; University of Washington faculty, including Dr. Early and Dr. Victoria Vasquez; Program Director for Proyecto Bienestar at Radio KDNA, Elizabet Torres; and Dennise Drury, Outreach and Education Specialist at the PNASH Center, worked to create a solution. From that, Basta! was born, utilizing insights from farmworkers and dozens of stakeholders, in and out of the agricultural sector, across Washington and Oregon to co-develop the training program, video, and toolkit.
“These resources were tailored to the needs of Latino/a/x farmworkers as well as agricultural supervisors and growers. It took six years to develop the Basta! training and toolkit,” says Dr. Early. “Contributors included farmworkers as well as over 72 different cross-sector partners, such as representatives from human rights organizations, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations like EFI, healthcare agencies, farmworker rights advocates and groups, legal experts, growers’ associations, private businesses, and consumers.”
The Basta! toolkit is one of the only Spanish/ English training tools on workplace sexual harassment explicitly designed for the agricultural sector. It takes a tailored, evidence-based, multi-level, and community driven-approach to prevention. It includes training videos, a trainer’s guide, example model workplace policies and procedures, posters, a graphic novella in English and Spanish, and other vital resources.
In addition to developing the toolkit, the PNASH Center, in partnership with the Washington Grower’s League and Northwest Justice Project, has hosted live training for workers and supervisors, HR and workplace trainers, and growers. These training sessions took place onsite in the workplace, at state conferences, and online. Recently, PNASH has also created an online Basta! training for community educators and safety professionals continuing their education.
Since its inception, the Basta! toolkit has already made its way throughout several organizations and into the hands of hundreds of workers.
“Following its launch two years ago, the toolkit has been adopted by the Washington Grower’s League, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Basta! Coalition of Washington State, the Washington Human Rights Commission, Harvust, Inc., and several growers across Washington and Oregon,” adds Dr. Early. “It has been disseminated to over 700 agricultural workers, supervisors, and growers and has been downloaded over 1,500 times. Demand and dissemination are quickly escalating since the slow of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Currently, the toolkit is available online for free to download from the PNASH center. Those interested in adopting the Basta! training and toolkit in their workplace can learn more by clicking or contacting Dr. Early or Dennise Drury.
To see how this program has made a difference for growers in the industry, look for the next article in the series.