Nico Gumbs

YAYA Coordinator

IMG_0731Growing up in Homestead, Florida, Nico has been around agriculture all their life. From looking out the window of their mom’s home at the papaya fields across the street, to visiting their grandfather’s avocado farm, to being a member of the Future Farmers of America, Nico remembers, “I always saw black and brown people working in the fields, but didn’t understand the complexity of the agriculture system.”

In 2010, YAYA gave a presentation in a Women’s studies class about the farm workers. Nico related it to their experience growing up with Hatian & Latino workers. Later, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers spoke in another class about pesticides on tomatoes and the effects on farm workers. This sparked Nico’s interest because they’d been working for Publix as a produce clerk for 2 ½ years. Nico had never worn gloves while hand-stacking produce, but remembered needing to wash their hands several times when stacking tomatoes. They were the worst!

After the presentation, Nico was so moved that they quit their job and two weeks later, joined YAYA for CIW’s march against Publix in Tampa. Nico then began volunteering with YAYA and came on staff of NFWM/ YAYA in early 2012.

“I like working with young people who are interested in social change and seeing the implications of working in a movement that may or may not directly affect them but has consequences in their lives.”