Farmworker Women's Conference draws hundreds to Visalia

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A farmworkers conference Friday drew in more than 1,500 women to the Visalia Convention Center. The event offers tools for success for female farm workers and their families.

Like any parent, Perla Ramos works hard to put food on the table but her efforts also put the food on ours.

"I get up at 4:30 a.m., take the kids to the babysitter and from then I hit the road to take to pick up the grapes, oranges, lemons - anything that I can," she said.

Ramos is a farm worker. She travels from Bakersfield to Washington, working more than six different farms per year.

"We have to do it for a better life. We're here to make our kids become something in life," she said.

The mother of two said that starts with education and work ethic. And it's something she's leading by example by earning money from farm work and earning her degree at Porterville College. That's where she found out about the Farmworker Women's Conference. For a 15th year, the event served as a resource fair to the women of the farm working community.

"We have Department of Education, Health and Human Services," said Alicia Franco with the Tulare County Office of Education. "We have ed training pesticides environment information so this way they don't have to be calling 800 numbers. We have all the resources here."

Speakers covered everything from college and career awareness to physical and mental health. The wet weather typically turns people away from big events but this weather worked to their benefit.

"If it was not raining it would be harder for them to come in because they would have to miss a day of work," Franco said.

Transportation, childcare, and catering were provided to serve the women who serve their community.

"We're giving back," Franco explained. "Letting them know there are needs, there are resources for them."
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