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Farm Worker Ministry-Northwest

Partners in the pacific northwest

“NFWM has been a sojourner with us in the struggle seeking justice and educating our faith communities. And they are a listening presence; listening to our concerns and modeling for us how to be that listening presence for farm workers,” proclaimed Ed Brandt, former Board Chair and current member of the Farm Worker Ministry-Northwest, a regional organization of the NFWM. “NFWM has been a mentor, a partner in solidarity as we work together on similar campaigns, national and local. They provide support to us by getting our members in touch with other like minded allies and advocates. They have been a prophetic witness, going to the fields with the workers and speaking out to our legislators and in corporate board rooms.”

The Farm Worker Ministry-Northwest was formed in 1985 as its predecessor, Oregon Farm Worker Ministry, in the rectory basement of St Joseph Catholic Church in Salem, Oregon. The organization was founded by Reverend Gary Massoni, Rosemary & Verne Cooperrider, and David Papen.

“NFWM executive director Reverend Fred Eyster consulted with us in the years of startup. He had been friends with my friends and they invited him to come to the northwest to get us going. He helped us survey the farm worker organizations and the faith community, and helped us get to know the national scene. He was at our founding convention in 1985 at a local Catholic Church,” said Ed, who served as the Board Chair from 2001-2011.

The Farm Worker Ministry-Northwest has been instrumental in supporting farm workers in the pacific northwest, from their role in the March for Farm Worker Justice supporting PCUN’s boycott of NORPAC to member Gabi Rios’s meeting with the CEO of Sakuma Brother Farms to support FUJ’s boycott of Driscoll Berries. 

Gabi shares a memory of her experience participating in a tribunal in Seattle where farm workers could share their concerns: “In Seattle, I was on the tribunal to bear witness for farm workers. They came to the tribunal with a list of things – like they can’t have breaks, they would have to pee in bags, they couldn’t speak up about the fact that the grower was lying about it being organic or they would get beat. But despite all of that, they care about you and your food, and they want you to know your food isn’t being handled in the right way. They are so mad about what is happening to them, yet they have that care for other people. For the farm workers, a big thing for them is just getting their story out….they want to tell their stories, they want them shared.”

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