migrant farmworkers

A Blue Ridge Health worker prepares for an outreach visit at a migrant worker's camp in Polk County.
Cass Herrington / BPR News

 

It’s apple season in Western North Carolina. Hand-painted roadside signs boast cider doughnuts and homemade pies. 

The beloved seasonal fruit is picked by thousands of migrant farmworkers. But with the pandemic, advocates want the government to provide safer living and working conditions for the at-risk population.

Samantha Calderón-Colón / BPR news

Farmworkers are among the laborers deemed “essential” in the age of coronavirus, for their critical role in supplying produce to the nation's grocery stores and farmer’s markets. But these workers face conditions that put them at risk of contracting and spreading the disease. 

Samantha Calderón-Colón / BPR News

Healthcare providers that cater services to seasonal and migrant farmworkers in Western North Carolina are increasingly turning their attention to mental healthcare. 

Samantha Calderón-Colón / BPR News

Migrant farmworkers in rural areas face a lot of pressure -- from language barriers, to geographic isolation, to the current political climate surrounding immigration.  Add in the limited access to mental healthcare in rural locales, it puts workers who travel to Western North Carolina for the harvest season in an even tougher position.