MARY JO DUDLEY: I think there's a new understanding among the general public, that apples don't come from Wegmans. That there are people involved in the production of our food that are critical to ensuring that there is food on our tables. Farm workers present specific challenges because they are essential workers, so they still go to work.
They work side by side, particularly in dairy where they're milking cows next to each other, and they often live in housing with other workers. So they're a particularly vulnerable population. It's been very reassuring that our students, who before the pandemic, were going to farms each week to tutor farm workers. Now are working with friends and neighbors to provide masks to these same workers to keep them safe.
I do want to say that all of you have the possibility of contributing to this. This mask, which is made out of cotton cloth sewed on a sewing machine with a metal insert to create a tight fit over your nose, is something that anybody can contribute to.
So I'd just like to say, if you'd like to make mask, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know and we'll link you with the mask makers who have the specifications. And we hope that we will find ways for any of you that are interested to be able to support farm workers during this difficult time.
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The Cornell Farmworker Program's Director Mary Jo Dudley describes the collaboration with partners across the state – volunteers, health clinics, veterinarians, community organizations – to make sure that farmworkers are provided with protective face masks.