S’appenin’ 1/27

Well – I know I promised my two cents regarding gentrification last time – but it seemed more timely to share with you all an issue that is a bit more related to both the farming community our family lives and works in and the work community that most of you are involved in too.
Undocumented workers.  The large dairy farms (Green Wind Farm is not one of these) that dominate the landscape and the agricultural economy of VT rely heavily on these people.  As does much of the food industry in NYC.   It is a serious issue with lots of layers of complexity – but in my opinion the bottom line is that these workers are oppressed and taken advantage of.  Even in the best situations, and often through no fault of their employers, it is a difficult situation.
My wife has been active with and is currently a board member for Migrant Justice – see the article below about the organization.
http://civileats.com/2015/05/11/will-ben-and-jerrys-help-improve-conditions-for-dairy-workers/

My sister has worked for many years in this community too.  She works with the University of Vermont Extension agency providing health care access and English as a second language opportunities to migrant workers.

The situation along the border with Canada in the whitest state in the union is particularly oppressive.  The boarder patrol can behave with impunity and will wait outside farms, medical clinics, etc. and will even respond alarmingly fast to phone calls that there are “brown people” at the local Walmart (one of the only places these people can go to send money back home to their families.)  These honest, gentle, kind people live in trailers or houses, or apartments built in the dairy barns with sheets blocking all the windows afraid to show their face during the day, even to walk across the lawn from where they live to where they work.

Many of these people are our friends.  They come to gatherings at our farm for birthdays, food processing parties, and Thanksgiving among other events.  In early December a good friend of ours, Josefa, lost her partner – he died in his sleep.  Her sons Jason and Aiden, are the same age as our sons almost 5 and around 2 yrs.   They were playmates.  It was hard for her to leave, but over the holidays they packed up their stuff and flew back to her family in Mexico.

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this with you all, except to promote awareness around human rights and food as we leave the holidays and get back to the grind of work.  This is a part of our life that hurts our hearts and is in dire need of change across the country.