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June 2015


CalAgrAbility and their partner, Ability Tools, continue to strengthen collaboration by educating health and safety professionals as well as the public. Fadi Fathallah, CalAg Director, conducted a workshop with Ability Tools on ergonomics and applying it in occupational settings, followed by a special focus on agricultural and gardening ergonomics. The audience came from community living, education, employment services, allied health, rehabilitation, and technology local agencies, as well as folks with disabilities.

CalAg-Ability Tool webinars are archived on YouTube: go to

CalAgrAbility led a "Rehabilitating Farmers" workshop for the 18-member Behavioral Health Board of the Sutter-Yuba Mental Health Services, where they learned about opportunities for outreach services to the agricultural community impacted by mental health. Claudia Hollis from FREED (an Independent Living Center), a long-time collaborator with CalAg, helped set up the workshop. FREED assists rural communities and includes farming/gardening/ergonomic AT devices in their lending library. Several board members are active with the Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau.

CalAgrAbility led a "Health is Wealth: Diabetes" workshop in Spanish at the Madison Migrant Center, in which they stressed the importance of checking feet, glucose, medications, eating fruits and vegetables, and staying hydrated while in the fields. CalAg gave out various fotonovelas: "Una Vida Saludable con Dona Jovita," and the Spanish/English, "Hazlo por Ellos/Do it for them" with a section on setting goals regarding "Live Your Life: Control Your Diabetes." Participants also took home small and large Ziploc-bags for medications, a glucometer, and strips to check diabetes. CalAg staff disseminated info cards addressing heat illness. Laura Martinez, community health worker and collaborator, also passed out educational materials.

CalAgrAbility attended a Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May) event in Yuba City with social service and health agencies promoting health and wellness for over 100 ag families. Staff networked with Alliance for Hispanic Advancement board members. Staff spoke to many ag folks diagnosed with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetes. Some had concerns about dental health and recent work injuries while driving large combines. Some workers are hesitant to share information about an accident, so CalAg offers ideas regarding AT used to mitigate secondary injuries; in this case gripping was an issue. Staff held mini workshops to show women, concerned about pain in their fingers or arthritis in their hands, exercises to strengthen hand joints.

With 14 leaders from the Yolo County Nonprofit Leaders Alliance, CalAgrA staff learned about YoloArts and their award winning Art & Ag Project to cultivate creativity in the farming community. The project pairs farmers and artists and arranges farm site visits to showcase the farm and products made on the farm. Visit the link Art and Ag video: A CalAgrA consumer is working with the project.

CalAgrAbility Tweeted about the National Hmong American Farmers Conference in Fresno, CA. "#Hmong Village News," which helps to share and preserve the Hmong people, culture and language, chose our tweet as a "favorite". Small farmers at the conference were eager to accept food assistance benefit cards from low-income customers. Read about the diversity of the farming community in the Central Valley:, which CalAgrAbility has worked with in the past.

To celebrate mental health awareness month, CalAgrAbility released the "Farmers and Suicide," Research News Alert. They worked with LaVona S. Traywick, Associate Professor-Gerontology at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture as a new resource. They developed an on-line Suicide Prevention course now available to the public at: For further information or for help finding the course, contact Julie Robinson: (501) 671-2082 or Migrant Health Research forwarded the Research News Alert to colleagues.

CalAgrAbility celebrated Multiple Sclerosis (MS) World Day with English and Spanish newsletters showing outstanding stories of two CalAgrAbility consumers with MS. Michael Muir is founder of Access Adventure in Fairfield California, an organization harnessing hope and healing for people with disabilities through a working partnership with horses. Feel free to access the English version here: Anna and her husband are co-owners of a farm in the California Capay Valley; theirs is a leading farm in organic and sustainable farming. Here is the link to the English version:

Students Paul & Veronica, Maria (CalAg) and Anna-Ruth (Farm to Mouth) with Cornwell pigCalAgrAbility met with the Director, Anna-Ruth Crittenden, of the Farm to Mouth Program, which gives jobs to folks with mental illnesses. Paul and Veronica, students from Chico State University working with folks and children with autism, joined the site visit. CalAg provided materials, including the Toolbox binder, and discussed various injury prevention ideas and AT solutions for their consumers and staff. Farm to Mouth staff shared a list of farms in Napa and Fresno, CA, that give folks with disabilities jobs. CalAg's Esmerelda and Anna-Ruth from Farm to Mouth in greenhouseThe FRED Conference brings experts and families and special needs adults together. FRED is a Golden Heart Ranch(r) production dedicated to building an intentional residential community where special needs young adults can live, learn, and work side-by-side in a harmonious and caring environment that is emotionally and physically safe.

Submitted by Maria Ceja