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The City of Woodland, in partnership with Woodland's Dinner on Main, hosted around 3,000 community members at the first-ever Yolo Growers and Farmworkers Festival in Downtown Woodland on Friday, June 24th. Despite the heat, thousands of attendees filled Main Street throughout the evening, dancing to live music and entertainment, enjoying Woodland’s shopping and dining experience, and interacting with local organizations. Twelve-year-old Jimena Izquierdo, daughter of a long time Field Supervisor at Durst Organic Growers, serenaded the audience, showcasing Woodland-grown talent during the opening act of the evening. State Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Yolo County Supervisor Angel Barajas, and Woodland Mayor Pro Tem Vicky Fernandez gave welcoming remarks and recognized the importance of local farmworkers within our agricultural industry.
Dancing horses and a trick roper added additional entertainment to festive music from three local bandas, including Banda La Octava Maravilla, Grupo Belico, and Tamborazo Dinastía de Woodland. Resource tents from local organizations including Woodland Community College, Communicare, Yolo County, Yolo Food Bank, RISE, Farmworker Institute of Education & Leadership Development (FIELD), and UC Davis lined Main Street. Representatives from these local organizations interacted with community members throughout the evening, shedding light on the types of food security, health care, and educational resources available to farmworkers and the community at large. To engage local boutiques in the festivities, extra virgin olive oil was gifted to 36 Festival participants upon their purchase at Haven a Boutique, Embellish Décor, Jami Ray Boutique, and Little Chances thanks to product donations from Woodland’s Cobram Estate. To help combat the heat, Dinner on Main volunteers passed out 1,000 water bottles donated by Nugget Markets and Food 4 Less. In addition, Yolo Food Bank handed out free strawberry baskets to 500 participants as an interactive way to spread awareness about their local distribution programs.
Beyond the festival, the City of Woodland and Dinner on Main organized three parallel initiatives geared at providing direct assistance to farmworkers and their families. First, 276 farmworkers received meal vouchers to use at participating Downtown Woodland restaurants thanks to $4,000 in assistance from Yolo County American Rescue Plan funds and over $1,500 in assistance from the City of Woodland. These meal vouchers were distributed to farmworkers from four Yolo County Farms, Three M Ranches, Muller Ranch, Fully Belly Farm, and Durst Organic Growers, and can be redeemed until July 24th.
Second, in the coming weeks, Yolo Food Bank will carry out food distribution to over 350 farmworkers at River Garden Farms, Durst Organic Growers, and Muller Ranch. Farmworkers will receive boxes filled with fresh produce, rice, and beans.
Finally, through July 31st, Woodland City Hall and two Downtown Woodland businesses, Las Brasas and Main Street Lounge, will accept lightly used or new bandanas, baseball caps, long sleeve shirts, children’s books, and toys for distribution to Yolo County farmworkers. The City of Woodland and Dinner on Main partnered with RISE, a non-profit serving the rural community to enhance quality of life and opportunity for self-sufficiency, to assist in the distribution of these items.
The City of Woodland and Dinner on Main were proud to host this first-of-its-kind family-friendly event within the Greater Sacramento region to boost awareness of and appreciation for our food and ag industry’s workforce – the faces of Woodland’s The Food Front. The event organizers look forward to celebrating Woodland and Yolo County farmworkers in a similar event format next year, likely during Hispanic and Latinx Heritage month in October 2023.
The 2022 Festival was made possible thanks to its primary financial sponsors, Visit Yolo and Experience Woodland, in addition to key local business sponsors: Grow West, Raley’s, Yolo Eats, La Tourangelle, Pacific Coast Producers, ASL Productions, and My Cali Designs.
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