Community data is helping Ventura County better support its farmworker communities with services and crisis response that leaves no one behind and builds resilience.
Resilient Cities Catalyst’s California Resilience Partnership (CRP) Program has joined with The Resilience Shift to learn about and share real-life resilience stories, from across California that explore how things might be done differently and to understand the shift in perspective and in practice that is enabling this change.
Since 2017, Ventura County has been at the epicenter of some of the biggest fires in California’s history, with vulnerable communities bearing disproportionate impacts. In particular, for more than 50,000 agricultural and outdoor workers supporting some of the state’s most productive lands, these wildfires created some of the harshest conditions that the region has seen in recent decades. These workers, many of whom are immigrants from Mexico, are the backbone of the region’s economy and essential to the food system.
Emerging from these events, the County realized there was an opportunity to strengthen its approach in advance of the next disaster. In 2019, taking the lessons learned from the Thomas and Woolsey fires, the County, in collaboration with community-based organizations, launched the Farmworker Resource Program (FRP), a test case for a collaborative approach–one that prioritizes communication, information, and relationship building. FRP helps to disseminate services to those who need them the most. This initiative aims to enable communities to access the support they need using data to facilitate a people centred disaster response, leaving no one behind.
This new model would soon be put to the test as the Covid-19 pandemic posed enormous economic and health challenges for workers and their families. FRP proved to be a critical tool in ensuring effective, efficient, and widespread distribution of essential resources to vulnerable communities during this crisis. It has been able to mobilize quickly by building on grassroots relationships, getting information and essentials out to the community, launching mobile vaccination sites, and using multilingual WhatsApp groups to send messages in real time. This integrated data-driven approach is strengthening partnerships with communities and contributing to the sustainability and long-term resilience of the agricultural sector, and can serve as a model for other municipalities.
As Ventura County prepares for whatever challenge lies ahead, it will continue to reflect and incorporate lessons learned in supporting communities.
To view this video and others in the series, please visit: https://www.resilienceshift.org/california-learning/ or www.rcc.city/crpvideos
Video Production Team:
- Eric Arthur Fernandez of Raffia Pictures (DP/Director)
- Nick Curran (Editor)
- Loroto Productions (Post-production services)