GVSU helps Belding man create ‘Yelp for farmworkers’

BELDING, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan man is creating an app that’s being called the “Yelp” for farmworkers.

Campesino SOS, which translates to Farmworker SOS, helps migrant and seasonal farmworkers connect with farmers who need help, as well as clinics and legal aid in the area.

Creator Feliciano Paredes of Belding said until now, most migrant workers relied on word-of-mouth and third parties to find work before traveling thousands of miles to harvest produce. Feliciano said many times his parents would travel to a farm only to learn there was no work.

Campesino SOS
These undated courtesy photos show prototype pages of the Campesino SOS app.

He also said migrant workers often have no contacts for doctors if they get sick.

“I grew up as a farm worker myself and I’ve been in the industry for over 10, 15 years and I see that these are still the same problems that have been reoccurring since the 80s,” said Paredes.

Paredes said he started the project in 2011. Since then, he’s been networking with various agencies to pool potential resources for workers. Paredes said he recently began working with a master’s student and Dr. Linda Chamberlain at Grand Valley State University, who have mentored him through the prototyping process.

The app should be available to download by March. It will work only in Michigan to start, but Paredes hopes to expand its services to other states in the future.

Paredes said he is seeking financial contributions to help with the launch and local developers to help build out an Android version of the app. He can be reached via Facebook, email and phone at 616.308.2115.