Luisa Santamaria helps Hispanic nursery workers


I'm an extension plant pathologist
and bilingual educator.
And I do education for mainly nursery workers
and any other agriculture commodity
that needs some bilingual instruction.
And we consider the population of workers, 90% is Hispanic.
And there are not many options to offer
them to get any training.
So I'm hoping that will change in some time and there
becomes more opportunities.
Every nursery is different.
So they have different times of production.
And the difference is when the time is available.
So now I'm trying to come to the nurseries,
to teach at the nurseries, because in that way, like you
see today, I have about 16 workers.
To find the time for the workers to attend the class,
that is the main challenge.
We don't have any education material directly
or that could be used for these audiences.
It hasn't been developed.
The fact that it's in Spanish doesn't mean
that everybody can read it.
One of the programs that I have now
is to educate the workforce for the nursery industry
in plant health.
And today, the class was related about
That is a pathogen that affects many ornamental crops.
And it's important to alert the workers how
to recognize the symptoms and what to do to prevent,
and most of the simple things, like sanitation and how
to water correctly.
We wanted to see plants that show
symptoms, which is on leaves.
So I was showing the workers how to use a kit, a test that
will identify easily and fast if they have the pathogen.
I think that it's important that they can recognize,
and what to look for, scouting,
and whether its things to prevent.
And I was happy to hear then what they're going to improve,
what they're going to do in the daily basis.
And they said, oh, we're going to do more cleaning.
Oh, we're going to use the hoses and place them
in the right place.
Just little things.
I have heard from some nurseries, some managers.
They say they expect to see changes
in behavior in the workers.
Actually, just today, I felt happy.
This is the second time in this place
that they said, oh, we have done this different.
After your class, we start to pay more attention
in sanitation or cleaning things.
And that is just a huge thing for me.

Luisa Santamaria is an Oregon State University Extension plant pathologist at North Willamette Research and Extension Center. Her Extension and outreach program is bilingual education for nurseries and greenhouse workers. Learn more about her Healthy Plants and Bilingual Education Program.

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