Juanita Rivas

Tomatoes

Juanita RivasJuanita is a seasonal farmworker from Northern California. She has worked planting, weeding, harvesting and processing tomatoes.  Other crops she has worked with over the years are watermelon, almonds, strawberry and peas. Over ten years ago, Juanita was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. With this diagnosis, Juanita got her family to change some eating habits to make it easier for her to cook for the family. She has been attending the local promotores conferences to learn more about resources and preserving her health and keep her safe during her seasonal work. 

This year COVID-19 brought new challenges for Juanita at her work. Working at the tomato cannery with 1,200 workers at the processing plant while sitting next to each other revealed safety challenges. Visibly stressed, she approached California AgrAbility for education about staying safe at work as she is more vulnerable due to her age and diabetes. Staff informed her on safety practices for agricultural producers which helped Juanita support crew with information about physical distancing. Staff provided her with face masks and coached her on speaking to her supervisor regarding accommodations to keep her safe. This season she will be placed in an area of the tomato processing plant where there are fewer workers than in her regular work area.  Juanita recognizes that communication is a valuable safety tool for her work.