Across Central America , alarming rates of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) plague field workers. Traditionally, CKD is attributed to diabetes and high blood pressure. However, there is increasing speculation that the disease found in so many workers is a result of exposure to pesticides, chemicals, contaminated water, and harsh working conditions. Jason Glaser, a Grand Rapids native, formed the La Isla Foundation in 2008 in an effort to fight the CKD epidemic in Nicaragua . The overall mission of the organization is to address the needs of agricultural workers worldwide.
Jason recently received a grant from the University of Colorado to research causes of CKD. La Isla works to provide sustainable organic agriculture in Nicaragua by providing safer work conditions and alternative economic options for those who have no choice but to work on pesticide-laden sugar cane plantations. La Isla also provides urgent medical care and health care to local communities in Nicaragua . CKD is a preventable – but often misunderstood – disease. In a global market, it is important for us to know the source of our food and understand how the workers that process it are treated.
To learn more about CKD, please join Jason at a benefit for the La Isla Foundation at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, at the Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce St. SW , in Grand Rapids . The event will feature drink specials and performances by LaughFest comedians Matt Lauria and Jerry Donovan. The minimum donation is $10 at the door or $25/family.