Mar 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Podcast aims to reach California farmworkers in their Indigenous languages

Illustration of a microphone at the edge of a farm field.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A California county has launched a new trilingual video podcast for farmworkers.

Why it matters: Most of the approximate 165,000 Indigenous farmworkers across California speak Mixtec and Zapotec, according to a study.

  • As essential workers, many have been hard hit by COVID-19 and need reliable information about health and worker rights.
  • Official interpreting services are scarce. The county says the podcast is the first of its kind.

Details: The podcast, “Raíz Informativa,” was launched mid-February by the Ventura County Farmworker Resource Program. It airs the second Wednesday of each month on Facebook.

  • The hosts are Israel Vázquez, who speaks a Mixtec dialect, and Flavio Reyes, who speaks Zapotec.
  • Their parents were farmworkers and they have also worked in the fields.
  • The hosts answer questions submitted through WhatsApp on topics like Medicare or the CalFresh food stamps program.

Of note: Since 2019, the county’s Farmworker Resource Program has helped more than 40,000 people with payroll problems and other concerns and with navigating government agencies.

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in September creating a grant program to fund similar farmworker assistance programs statewide.
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