People who give us hope: Darlene Tenes and the Farmworker Caravan

Darlene Tenes cares deeply about the community and she knows how to get things done. When she saw a social media post by Assemblymember Robert Rivas in April about a Farmworker Relief Drive in Watsonville, Tenes quickly mobilized her large network to bring critical donations to agricultural workers who have been impacted by COVID-19. In less than 2 days, almost 100 cars had registered causing her to shut down registration. In 48 hours, she organized a donation drive at the San Jose Women’s Club that required three large box trucks. 

As an organization that has for decades advocated for the protection of farmland and a healthy food system, Green Foothills is thankful for Darlene’s work in support of farmworkers. The 400,000+ farmworkers who call California home are critical to the state’s agricultural economy, ensuring the harvest and processing of the United States’ more than one-third vegetables and two-thirds fruits and nuts grown in California. 

“We need to recognize that farmworkers are essential workers, probably the most essential workers,” says Tenes. “They are making $10,000-$15,000 annually putting food on our tables every day. They have the stress all of us have suffered in 2020, they make almost no money, their families are struggling with limited to no internet access or cell phone service, and on top of this they have been working outside in pesticides, heatwaves, and wildfire smoke.”

This grassroots effort is now called the Farmworker Caravan and it has been collecting donations and bringing supplies to farmworker families in Santa Clara, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and San Luis Obispo Counties ever since April 2020. 

“It is beautiful to see people from all different walks of life come together for good in unity. It’s an emotional experience for everyone. Especially during this stressful time and the pandemic.”

The Green Foothills community is invited to learn more about how to get involved with Farmworker Caravan. There is also a GoFundMe and a 2 minute video about the effort.

“We can all support farm workers. Whether or not you get involved with the Farmworker Caravan, I encourage everyone to think about farmworkers when you eat or go to the grocery store. Usually there is a very small organic section, everything else is grown with something and the farm workers are surrounded by all of chemicals and pesticides. It is very unhealthy for them. It is better for them and better for us when we buy organic.”

A highly regarded marketing and public relations executive, Tenes is a professional big ideas organizer and is known for high-profile intimate gatherings to large conferences. Tenes is the founder of CasaQ, a San Jose-based, Hispanic lifestyle company dedicated to presenting unique products, events, and services that embrace Latino culture and heritage blending modern with traditional, and old with new. She is a regular contributor on NBC Bay Area and CBS-5 in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Latino Lifestyle expert discussing history, foods, and traditions of Mexico, Spain and other Latin-American countries. She has served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, San Jose Police Foundation, Boy & Girls Club, and PACT – People Acting in Community Together. 

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