PRJ 1008 Last Harvest

This series includes programmatic and administrative files related to The Last Harvest: A Tribute to the Life and Work of Farmworkers, a project which had its genesis in 1998 as an initiative of the Florida Folklore Society in association with the Farmworkers Association of Central Florida. Laurie Sommers served as a folklore consultant and fieldworker to that project which was an oral history project on the history and workers' culture of Latino, Haitian, and African American farmworkers in the vegetable muck farms and packing plants surrounding Lake Apopka (Orange County) in central Florida. On July 1, 1998 the farms closed and the lake was subsequently drained as part of an environmental cleanup effort leaving 2,500 farmworkers out of a job. Copies of Sommers interviews with workers during the final season are included here. (Originals are housed in the Florida State Archives, Tallahassee.) Also included are materials associated with the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Month at Valdosta State University organized around a Florida Humanities Council traveling exhibit, curated by Ron Habin, on this same project titled "The Last Harvest: A History and Tribute to the Life and Work of the Farmworkers of Lake Apopka." Four new panels were researched and added to the original exhibit for its run in Valdosta, and the photos, field notes, and vertical file materials used to create these new panels round out this series. The Valdosta-Florida connection comes in that one of the displaced Apopka farms, Zellwin, relocated in South Lowndes County, Georgia. Zellwin sold out to Coggins Farms of Lowndes and Echols County, Georgia, currently a major grower of carrots.

The Michigan Tejano band, Los Bandits, headed by two former farmworkers, presented a cultural sensitivity through music program in association with this project; Los Bandits' CD is included in the collection.

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Last Harvest farmworker interview excerpts, Apopka, Florida, 1997-1998.

Harvest in South Georgia exhibit panels written by Laurie Kay Sommers and designed by James Hornsby, 2000, displayed with the original Last Harvest traveling exhibit during its Valdosta tour.

Last Harvest Final Report, 2000.