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How to Craft Climate Financing That Helps Minorities and Lower-Income Americans

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The Ramirez family with a Speckled Sussex Chicken named Nora the Explora.

When Antonio Tovar, interim general coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida, first realized that his organization was receiving funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Kellogg’s charitable arm, “I was like: ‘Wow, that seems like a contradiction of our principles. I don’t know if they are aware that we don’t like corporations,” Tovar says—especially given many large companies’ poor track record of following regulations that protect workers along their supply chains.

According to the non-profit Farmworker Justice, farmworkers in America earn an average of $7.25 an hour. They’re often unable to afford the fruits and vegetables they spend the day picking and are frequently exposed to toxic pesticides and working conditions that can harm their health.

This year, the Farmworker Association will receive funding from a source more closely aligned with its values: the Climate Justice Alliance’s Our Power Loan Fund. Unlike funding that comes directly from a corporation or its charitable subsidiary, Tovar says, CJA’s loan fund puts workers at the center of building a just transition toward a green economy. At the association’s four Campesinos Gardens, which the loan will support, farmworkers grow fresh, healthy produce for themselves and their families with the aim of promoting economic, racial, and environmental justice. This intersectional approach—emerging from the interlocking challenges that farmworkers face—stands in contrast to the single-issue advocacy of larger environmental organizations, many of which are staffed and led primarily by white urban professionals.

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