Addressing Farmworker Suffering With A Crowdfunded Product

Addressing Farmworker Suffering With A Crowdfunded Product

Water in the Fields is an effort by Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry (EFwM), to enable life-saving hydration to NC farmworkers working in incredibly harsh conditions.

THE PROBLEM

Farmworkers work long hours in the hot sun, and they are unable to easily carry water with them as they work. Water is provided by the farm at the 2 ends of the field, but a row may take 1-2 hours for a worker to complete. A worker should drink water every 15 minutes, and reducing that to once every 1 or 2 hours puts them at severe risk of dehydration and heat related illness. Carrying individual water bottles would enable each worker to properly hydrate, but a solution was needed to enable carrying the water without hindering their productivity.

Through farmworker interviews and discussions, EFwM and Designbox learned of their significant hydration issues. EFwM has many long-range and ongoing efforts to improve overall working conditions for farmworkers. In addition to this work, EFwM wished to empower farmworkers immediately with individual tools to improve their hazardous conditions without harming their relationship with the farm owner.

THE SOLUTIONS

Designbox developed a product and campaign to address the difficulties farmworkers face to stay hydrated. First, we designed a personal water carrying pouch to be attached to a belt and worn in a way that it does not compromise mobility. The pouch fits a variety of different bottle sizes, with one full bottle included when the pouch is first given to the farmworker. The pouches are made of 100% biodegradable materials, with the understanding that some pouches may unintentionally be left out in the fields.

Secondly, we worked with EFwM to develop easy-to-understand instructions (in Spanish) to educate the farmworkers as to the extreme importance of hydration and tips on how to do so.

Designbox also developed an Indiegogo Generosity campaign to help fund the production of the pouches. We managed the campaign and the marketing through email and social media efforts. The campaign ultimately raised over $9,000 directly through Indiegogo contributions, and a total of over $13,000 when combined with direct contributions to EFwM.