project leader
Cameron O
East Station Street
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the project

Our community has often felt “invisible.” The general public does not think about the people and their families who plant and harvest the food the rest of us eat.  But, community members know their history. They tell stories that are rich and vibrant and powerful. Some of the stories go back to ancestors living under slavery.  Some have grandparents and great-grandparents who were sharecroppers or indentured servants. They have survived the Jim Crow era, experienced the threats of the KKK, and made their voices heard during the Civil Rights era. Farmworkers performed the backbreaking work that built the economy of our state and of our nation. Betty Dubose harvested cotton when she was a young woman. Eloise and Magaline remember tying tobacco leaves in a barn with other women. Linda shares her story of packing corn in crates on the “mule train” when she was only eight years old.  Most Americans never think about the workers behind the food they eat every day. But their work made the world go ‘round. The mural project is a way to capture the rich tapestry of the lives of the farmworkers and to tell the history of the community that inspires the next generation. The project incorporates intergenerational dialogues to pass down the knowledge and wisdom that will be woven into the images depicted in the mural. 

To make this project possible, we are raising money to help purchase basic supplies, including paint, brushes, primer, fencing, posts and all the materials needed for the visioning and planning process, including paper, markers and other materials. Since we will be working outside to install and paint the mural, we also want to be able to provide food, water and drinks to the volunteers and community members doing the work under the Florida sun. We also envision creating a brochure and informational materials and to write and publish an article to describe the meaning and the collaborative process of the mural project.  We will also plan and implement a “Grand Opening” ceremony where we will unveil, announce and present the mural to the community, at which we will provide food, beverages and printed informational materials for those in attendance. Funds raised through this fundraiser will help us print these materials to share widely. The money raised for this project is going to bring honor and respect to the farmworkers who will break through their former invisibility and make their legacy known in an artwork that all the community can share, enjoy and find pride in. 

the steps

Once we have received money for supplies, we expect the process to begin in earnest. We will erect a wooden fence at a designated central location in the residential community that is adjacent to a bus terminal that many community members frequent. This will give the mural maximum visibility in the community.  Planning and visioning sessions have already begun in which community members have collectively formulated key concepts for the mural.  Next steps include one-on-one dialogues with older generation community members centered around the question, “How do you want your community to be remembered?” to elicit some of their most poignant memories. Grand and great-grandchildren will be invited to participate in the conversations to stimulate inter-generational dialogues to infuse the younger generation with a sense of their personal and family history and to gain a perspective of legacy.  Whenever possible, with the participant’s consent, these will be audio recorded and supplemented with photographs that can be archived for posterity. We will create an accompanying full color brochure, informational flyers, and a more detailed article about the project and the process. Once the planning sessions and wood treatment is finished, we will have the artists/community members dedicate days to go out and begin the painting process for the mural. The plan is to begin painting in March 2020 with a targeted completion date of July of 2020 with a ceremony to announce the mural to the public.

why we're doing it

For justice and for community – that is why we are doing this project.  To celebrate resilience and strength and power in the face of adversity, exploitation and racism – that is why we do this project.  In solidarity with all those who labored in the fields while the rest of us enjoyed the fruits of their labor – that is why we do this project.  Farmworkers were exposed to environmental contaminants during their years working on the farm fields on Lake Apopka.  From the 1940s until 1998, the north shore of Lake Apopka in Central Florida supported farmlands that produced a variety of vegetable crops that fed the country. For decades, the farms were treated with fertilizers and pesticides in attempts to maximize production and to manipulate and control the plants, insects, and the soil to meet consumer demand for blemish-free, cheap produce. These chemical inputs irreparably altered the ecosystem on and around the farms, resulting in Lake Apopka’s declaration as Florida’s most polluted lake, wildlife deformities and reproductive abnormalities, persistent soil contamination, and deleterious health impacts to the workers themselves. Ultimately, in 1998, the farms were bought out with taxpayer money so that environmental restoration could begin on Lake Apopka. Early on in the restoration process, when the farmlands were flooded, more than a thousand migratory birds died from exposure to DDT and other toxic chemicals lying stagnant in the farms’ soil – the same chemicals that farmworkers had been exposed to for decades. Since the unceremonious closing of the farms 20 years ago, the farmworkers have been left with their lingering health challenges and no choice but to accept the many injustices they endured during their long years working on the farms.

With no recourse available to address their health issues and to remedy their maltreatment over the years, their grief and their lament began to be channeled into avenues that would recognize and praise those who so honorably worked the land. Over the years, the Lake Apopka farmworkers have been featured prominently through many forms of creative expression: a photodocumentary, short films, youtube videos, oral histories, newspaper articles, quilts, middle/high school curriculum, a full book, and chapters of other books. Now, the remaining core group of Lake Apopka farmworker leaders has their minds set on claiming a wall in Apopka to paint a big, bold mural to honor and amplify the dignity and legacy of The Farmworker. 


Disbursed budget (12.14.20):


TOTAL RAISED = $3,795.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $66.45

Original budget:

Paint, primer, brushes, sponges, and other artistic materials to cover 50+ feet of fencing- $2000

Fencing supplies- $500

Administrative costs- $2500

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $156


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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