We’ve been promoting safe, decent, secure and affordable housing for
Ventura County farm workers and their families through education and advocacy since 2004.

One Step A La Vez Group


What better place to spend summertime than in Ventura County!

June was an exciting month for House Farm Workers! We took a field trip to Fillmore City Hall with our One Step A La Vez Group on the 14th. The youths submitted a letter to the mayor and City Council about the 2021-29 Housing Element of the city’s General Plan, requesting the addition of more affordable housing, commerce to provide employment and shopping for their age group (13 – 19), support for a countywide farm worker housing study, funding for the Housing Trust Fund Ventura County, and a permanent source of funding for affordable housing. Talk about a way to beat the summer heat, how cool was that? Go Fillmore youth!

In addition to their letter, they submitted as attachments printed copies of the paintings they made during our youth-led paint night, instructed by young artist William Caceres.

Way to advocate One Step!

As you know, we have been building up toward this moment with monthly events with the local youth group to inform and teach them about affordable housing, and how they can advocate for it.

We have had exciting community members participate, such as Linda Braunschweiger, whose presentation was titled “What do lasagna and affordable housing have in common?”

Linda is the CEO of the Housing Trust Fund Ventura County and the Housing Land Trust Ventura County. In 2021 and again in 2022, Ms. Braunschweiger was selected as one of the Pacific Coast Business Times “Top 50 Women in Business” in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. Linda has a BA in Speech Communications and Industrial Psychology, and an MBA with a focus in Public Policy. In her private time, she enjoys doing mission work in Mexico and Costa Rica. Linda is a single mother of two college students and lives in Camarillo.

Carl Morehouse also presented to the youth group. His presentation was titled “How do we get to housing, or doesn’t everybody need a place to live?”

Carl Morehouse was on the San Buenaventura City Council for 17 years, serving as mayor in 2005-2007. He served as president of the Southern California Association of Governments, and represented the 47th District on the SCAG Regional Council. Carl has served on numerous boards and committees including, SCAG’s Community, Housing and Economic Development policy committee, and represented the City of Ventura on the Ventura Council of Governments, the Ventura County Transportation Commission, and the Gold Coast Transit District. For 20 years, Carl worked for the Ventura County Planning Division.

Both presentations helped the youth prepare to submit comments to the city of Fillmore about its failure to prepare a draft housing element.

Our executive director attended another special student moment on the morning of the Fillmore City Council meeting. This one was at California State University Channel Islands. where student Max Desenberg, who was a part of the Service Learning Project between House Farm Workers! and CSUCI, presented his final Capstone Project on Ventura County development impact fees.

And on the first official day of summer, June 21, House Farm Workers! hosted a meeting of the newly formed farm worker group Su Voz Campesina.

Farm workers chatted about housing in Ventura County over coffee and snacks purchased by a grant from Bank of the Sierra.


From Field to Fork


July is a special summer month for House Farm Workers! because it is the month we host our annual “From Field to Fork” fundraising event.

House Farm Workers! wishes to thank the following, whose generosity made “From Field to Fork” possible.

Visionary Sponsors


Community Leaders

Brokaw Nursery LLC

Brianne Mcgrath

Pyramid Flowers


Broome Management LLC, Farm Bureau of Ventura County, Al Friedrich, J.K. Thille Ranches, Rancho Rodoro, Total Labor Force, Underwood Family Farms, The Port of Hueneme


Donlon Ranch, Leslie Leavens, McCune Foundation, John McGrath and Sons, John Shores Family Partnership, Ventura County Credit Union, Ventura Pacific, Michael Skaff


Deardoff Family Farms, The Dunbar Group, Susan Johnson, People’s Self Help Housing

photo credit @jorgemorell

We would also like to thank all of the chefs, farmers, and vendors who made the delicious meal we all enjoyed so much. On the menu was an appetizer course prepared by Shanon Rice of Peirano’s: a trio of crostini made with produce provided by Farmivore, accompanied by beer from Enegren Brewing Co. and wine from Paradise Pantry.

The first course was a charred corn and avocado salad, prepared by the staff of chef Maya Chreste, of M on High Street. This dish was made with produce provided by Underwood Family Farms and was accompanied by blood orange and walnut tapenade. The blood oranges were provided by Petty Ranch, and the tapenade was handcrafted by the one and only master chef Tim Kilcoyne. Both were served with wine from Clos des Amis.

The main course was a grilled pork loin with a 3-squash risotto, braised red chard, fennel parsley chimichurri, and balsamic pearls, yum. This was prepared by chef Alex Montoya, of Water’s Edge Restaurant, made with produce provided by Tamai Family Farms and accompanied by wine from Four Brix Winery. Thank you Water’s Edge Restaurant for donating all of the protein for this dish.

The dessert course was a delectable blackberry cocoa cake with a cara cara compote, prepared by chef Anastashia Chavez, owner of Pas De Deux Confections, and chef Deb Dawson, owner of Desserts to Die For. The dessert was made with produce provided by Petty Ranch and Tamai Family Farms, accompanied by coffee from Beacon Coffee.

This year our Field to Fork event was lucky to have Volunteer Coordinator Grant Sles and the returning youth volunteers from One Step A La Vez and Santa Paula High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) led by Alex Flores. Erika Ayala of Chase bank and her team of volunteers helped alongside the youth, and of course, so did our dedicated HFW! Board Members. If you did not make it to this year’s event, mark your calendars now for July 2023.

Donations of course, are appreciated and accepted year-round at: https://housefarmworkers.org/donate/

Scholarship Winners


The highlight of our Field to Fork event was and always is the scholarship winners. Congratulations Mireya Avila Mejia, Martha Maldonado-Arias, and Vanessa Magaña.

Mireya Avila Mejia of Fillmore is currently attending CSUCI with a goal of getting her bachelor’s degree in health science.

Mireya described her home life before living in affordable farmworker housing this way: “I never had much privacy and didn’t have a space where I could put and do all my school work. In order to be able to get my school assignments done, I would have to do them in the bathroom because that was the place with the least amount of noise.”

Martha Maldonado-Arias of Oxnard, is currently attending CSUCI with a goal of being in the health care field. Here’s a quote from Martha’s scholarship application on the need of affordable housing for farm workers: “As our family expanded, it became difficult for us to search for apartments that we could afford since rent has been increasing exponentially in Oxnard, and with one parent working to pay for all expenses and rent, this difficulty only increased. With my father having to support all nine of us including himself, and my mother having to stay at home and take care of my little siblings, this meant that we had to make some sacrifices such as having to live in a single apartment all crammed together and sleeping on the cold hard floor. As a way to save money we had to walk to whatever destination we needed to go to, sometimes having to wake up really early to arrive on time, and if we needed some type of technology device then we had to go to the library.”

Vanessa Magaña of Santa Paula, is attending California Lutheran University, with the goal of becoming a teacher. Here’s a quote from Vanessa about where she grew up: “I would like to think that my street is safe, but the idea persists only to comfort myself. I worry a lot about my brothers and what will be of them if I am not there constantly on their backs about making smart choices. There are certainly gang affiliations in the area and we are often startled by gunshots that are heard nearby. Growing
up, you kind of get used to such experiences, but they are not proper living conditions young children should be enduring. My dad’s dream is to buy a home of his own and move to a safer neighborhood, and (he) thus takes on long hours at work to make that happen one day. He also often worries about us going out into the neighborhood and who we are associating ourselves with. His stress and worries, along with my mother’s, would be lessened if we lived in an affordable and safe housing environment.”

Congratulations to our winners, you deserve this and so much more, we will continue to cheer on your success and hope you stay in contact so we can see your amazing future contributions to your community.

Ellen Brokaw & the 2022 scholarship winners

The Fillmore and Piru Task Force (FPTF)


August brought the Mixteco Indigena Organizing Project (MICOP) fundraising event, A Night in Oaxaca, to which our executive director received a generous invitation to attend courtesy of our newest and very generous donor, the Weingart Foundation. It was such an amazing event filled with community connections, learning, listening, sharing and fun. Thank you Weingart for the invitation and for supporting our work.

The Fillmore and Piru Task Force (FPTF) is a diverse group of Fillmore and Piru community members, affordable housing developers, and housing experts. It was formed in early 2022 by House Farm Workers! to address the Fillmore Housing Element 2021-2029 Update.

On August 22nd, 2022, the Task Force had its first in-person town hall meeting which was productive. Thank you, Fillmore and Piru communities, for showing up and speaking out. Our Executive Director Gabrielle Vignone opened the meeting with a brief overview of what a housing element is. City Councilwoman Christina Villasenor then covered the status of Fillmore’s Housing Element, and Councilwoman Lynn Edmonds gave historical zoning and development information. The night came to a close with exciting discussions from community members about their personal housing experiences and a call to action from Task Force Co-Chair and HFW! Board Member Joe Ramirez. who encouraged attendance at future task force and City Council meetings. The Fillmore City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. If you are interested in attending a future task force meeting, please email us at info@housefarmworkers.org

In other exciting community involvement news, House Farm Workers! has spent the summer teaming up with the Santa Paula Art Museum for its Home/Land Project. We are still going and can’t wait to tell you all about it once it is complete. Keep a lookout for it in our next newsletter.

A tribute to Carmen Ramirez


We at House Farm Workers! lost a friend when Supervisor Carmen Ramirez passed away on August. 13, 2022. Carmen was a lifelong champion of farm workers and a strong supporter of our work. Carmen was family to an entire community and leaves us with memories of her leadership, and passion. We honor Carmen as a warrior, who won battles in and for her community. Lives changed because of her work, and for that, we are forever grateful.

If you are new to HFW! and are looking for a way to get involved, we have listed a few options below for you:

Want to join one of our City Group Committees? These committees have room for new members:

Oxnard House Farm Workers Committee
Meets second Wednesday of the month at 9 a.m. via Zoom.

Ventura House Farm Workers Committee
Fourth Tuesday at 4 p.m. via Zoom.

Fillmore & Piru Task Force
First Wednesday at 5 p.m. via Zoom.

Email events@housefarmworkers.org to be added to our mailing list.

Feeling generous?

Amazon Smile: Donate while you shop on Amazon, without having to spend additional money! Before your next Amazon purchase go to: https://smile.amazon.com and select House Farmer Workers of Santa Paula as your charity.

Gift Donations: Don’t know what to get your loved ones this year? Donate in their name: https://housefarmworkers.org/donate/