September 2019
House Farm Workers!
Working to promote safe, decent, secure and affordable housing for all
Ventura County farm workers since 2004.
Recent Events
From Field to Fork Dinner

On the evening of July 18 th , House Farm Workers! held its 9 th annual From Field to Fork fundraising dinner at the beautiful and picturesque Walnut Grove at Tierra Rejada Ranch. The dinner brings together the farmers who produce Ventura County's agricultural bounty, chefs who celebrate that bounty on their menus, and the farm workers whose labor makes it all possible.

This year, we exceeded our fundraising target and generated more than $100,000 to support our work in the coming year. Thank you to our sponsors and attendees for supporting our mission to promote safe, decent, secure, and affordable housing for all Ventura County farm workers. Thank you to our planning committee and our volunteers from Santa Paula FFA , One Step a la Vez and Boy Scout Troop 676, who helped make the dinner run smoothly.

This event would not have been possible without the contributions of our in-kind donors. Many thanks to Rick Brecunier, who provided the venue space at the Walnut Grove at Tierra Rejada Ranch. We would like to also thank Chef Tim Kilcoyne of World Central Kitchen for coordinating the dinner and enlisting the support of local farms and other vendors.
Things to Know
Meet our 2019 Ellen Brokaw Scholarship Winners
This year we were able to grant three $2,000 scholarships to recent high school graduates and current college students whose parents are farm workers. Here are the three recipients of the 2019 Ellen Brokaw Scholarship, along with excerpts from their application essays :
Marlen Garcia Cano
  • 2019 graduate of Fillmore High School
  • Starting at Ventura College in Fall of 2019
  • Major: Sociology
  • Wants to get a doctorate in sociology and become a social worker and give back to her community

“The garage we lived in was horrible. It was just one whole room with a bathroom and small kitchen. My sisters, my parents, and I all slept in what was the living room. I shared a sofa, which you could make into a bed, with my sisters ... When I was in third grade we moved ... My parents heard about Cabrillo Economic Development housing and filled out the application, and we qualified to live in one of the homes. The (new) apartment was a sign of change, a really great change ... Even though I don’t have my own room I am still really happy because the house is a million times better than the homes we were living in before.”
Emilia Contreras
  • 2018 graduate of Channel Islands High School
  • Currently attending CSU Channel Islands
  • Major: Business with emphasis in finance
  • Wants to help families manage their finances

“I was never a good student in school, I went through a phase where I thought the world was against me. As I grew older, I began to realize what I was surrounding myself with. My older siblings were already going down the wrong path and I had seen what they were going through. That couldn’t be me, I knew that I had to get myself together because my parents were working hard, and I had my little sister looking up to me ... My plan is to maintain my bachelor’s in business with an emphasis in finance to help families finance their money. I plan to do many things but, I am taking one step at a time.”
Erik Maga ñ a
  • 2019 graduate of Fillmore High School
  • Starting at UC Santa Barbara in Fall of 2019
  • Major: Spanish
  • Wants to teach Spanish at Fillmore High School

“As Mexicans who immigrated as young adults, many aspects of the United States are foreign to my parents, including higher education ... Although my parents may not understand much about the activities I’m involved in, they still provide me with their unconditional support, and that is all I can ask of them. My college education would positively impact my family. It will expose my parents and siblings with everything that goes into attaining a higher education, which will make it easier for my siblings to also pursue a college education. Finally, a college education would prove to my parents that the sacrifices they have made for me throughout all of the years paid off.”
To learn more about our Ellen Brokaw Scholarship program, check out our new Scholarship film below.
Farm Worker Stories:
Azucena Vasquez
Sharing the stories of our Ventura County farm worker families
Azucena Vazquez is a resident of a Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation farm worker apartment.
“I have only ever had a job in the fields since I came to this country. It’s very hot, very humid and there hasn’t been rain in a long time. People get tired faster because of the weather. I am on disability right now, but I used to work the full 7 days. I lived in a living room in my aunt’s house while I was working. Then my dad got an apartment which had four people to a room, but again I lived in the living room. Everything was too high in price. I rented a room with my 3 kids and I was 8 months pregnant at the time. I hope to have my own house in the future, but I’m happy living here in the apartments. There are a lot of families that would love the help because rent is so high. It’s a calm place and the neighbors are really friendly, and kids each have their own space. I know what other families are going through so I am very grateful. ” 

This interview was done in partnership with CSUCI’s Service Learning program and Professor Parul Malik’s Communications course. The interview and photo were captured by student Eduardo Cruz-Cortez. 
Donor Spotlight
We are grateful to have had the support of Beacon Coffee and King and King Ranch over the years. Both have participated in our annual From Field to Fork dinner and became friends at our event four years ago. Together they decided to create a custom tea blend that was grown at King and King Ranch and later sold at Beacon Coffee. All proceeds of the sale went towards our scholarship fund. House Farm Workers! appreciates your support!
Board Member Spotlight
Lauren Nichols
Lauren Nichols is a Project Manager II in the Multifamily Development Department with Peoples' Self-Help Housing Corporation (PSHH). Based in PSHH's Ventura Office, Lauren is passionate about increasing the existing stock of affordable, beautiful, and integrated homes in key areas in Ventura and southern Santa Barbara counties for our most vulnerable populations. Prior to joining PSHH, Lauren worked as a project manager in the fields of affordable housing development, civil engineering, and watershed planning. Lauren holds a master's degree from Tufts University in urban environmental policy and planning, and a graduate certificate in Water: Systems, Science, and Society. She is a Ventura County native, and lives in Ojai, where she enjoys partaking in outdoor activities at every opportunity.
Volunteer Appreciation
We love our volunteers. Are you excited to get involved? Many hands make light work.
 House Farm Workers! has established committees in Ventura County. These volunteer-driven committees are the heart of the organization and have played a critical role in advocating on behalf of the farm worker community for the past 10 years. The city groups mobilize public support, engage public officials, and collaborate with other grassroots organizations to ensure affordable housing for farm workers.

Interested? Click below for more information.

Donations to House Farm Workers! are always welcome and are tax-deductible. To donate and support our ongoing work, click below.
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House Farm Workers!