The North Carolina Farmworkers’ Project began as a community project to respond to the needs of the farmworker community in Eastern North Carolina in 1992. We began meeting in people’s homes, and eventually acquired half of a trailer in Newton Grove as an office. In 1994, the Farmworkers’ Project was incorporated as a nonprofit. Originally founded as a worker organizing group, we have always used a popular education approach to our community work.
The Farmworkers’ Project moved to Benson in 2000. By 2000, we were working in partnership with Wake Forest University doing community-based participatory research on topics important to farmworkers’ lives, like how pesticides affect farmworker health. We initiated our health program with funding from the Office of Rural Health in 2004. The health program has steadily grown to become our largest area of focus. In 2004-2005, we completed just over 130 health assessments with farmworkers and provided them with health education. By 2016, we were reaching more than 2,500 farmworkers per year.
Today, the Farmworkers’ Project has eight year-round staff, many more summer interns and part-time staff during the busy season, and partnerships with Wake Forest University, Campbell University, UNC, Benson Area Medical Center, and numerous other farmworker organizations throughout the state. We have multiple program areas and focus on providing farmworkers with information about health insurance and assistance accessing plans; health education and enabling services to access health care; and leadership development through our promotores program.