Contact: lauren Ornelas, Executive Director



Rally to be held at California Department of Housing & Human Development in Sacramento on December 9


Cotati, CA, December 6, 2016—Human rights advocates from around the state will be assembling in front of the California Department of Housing & Human Development (HCD) in Sacramento at 12:30 pm on Friday, December 9—the day before Human Rights Day—to protest the HCD’s regulation forcing farm workers to leave the labor camps and move at least 50 miles away. California is the only State in the nation that has not created an exception to this historic inequality.

For years, The Center for Farmworker Families, Food Empowerment Project, and other farm worker advocates have been asking the State of California to remove or limit the use of its so-called 50-mile regulation, which requires migrant farm workers who reside in California’s subsidized migrant camps to leave these camps each year by the end of November and move at least 50 miles away, if they want to return the following year. This arbitrary and oppressive regulation means that the education of their children is interrupted, as they must enroll in at least two schools a year.

“Getting rid of the 50-mile rule will make it so that kids can stay in the same school once the season ends,” said “Isabel,” a daughter of farm workers. “Kids won’t have to learn one thing and be tested on another once they come back.” Now enrolled in college, Isabel said that her grades suffered when she was younger and she and her family had to relocate to a new area for five months. “This made me start thinking I was stupid,” she said. “But looking back now, it wasn’t that I was stupid; it was just the circumstances. I wasn’t taught what I was being tested on. It’s normal to fail in a system that’s designed for people who are here for the full year.”

“We are asking Governor Brown to instruct HCD to use its discretion to allow farm workers who would like to stay in the area, so their children can finish the school year, to do so and therefore not impede the education of their children,” said lauren Ornelas, executive director of Food Empowerment Project. “We know that in the past, the agency has used its discretion—and humanity—to treat the farm workers as individuals and allowed them to stay in the housing center when it has been important for their health. Education is a human right and one that should be afforded to the children of farm workers.”

Event Details:

California Department of Housing & Community Development
2020 W El Camino Ave.
Sacramento, California 95833

12:30 to 1:30 pm

For more information about the protest, please visit:


About the 50-Mile Regulation

Migrant farm workers who reside in California’s subsidized migrant camps can remain in the camps only from May 1 of a given year to the end of November. A state regulation (Office of Migrant Services, Title 25 Housing and Community Development Programs, p 701.102) requires they must move at least 50 miles from the camp in order to reside at the camp the following year. Because the farm workers are forced to migrate, their children’s education is seriously interrupted, since they arrive at the camps at the end of the school year in May and are required to vacate their apartments two months into the following school year in November.

Food Empowerment Project  is working with The Center for Farmworker Families to change the state regulation so that migrant farmworkers have the option of finding housing and remaining in the school district for the duration of the school year. Their children will then have a greater opportunity for academic success. 

About Food Empowerment Project

Founded in 2007, Food Empowerment Project seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices. We encourage healthy food choices that reflect a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, and the unavailability of healthy foods in low-income areas. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, F.E.P. is based in Cotati, Calif.. For more information, please visit