Farm Workers and the service recieve when we sit down to eat.   Leave a comment

When I was about 7 years old I wanted a job. I wanted spending money. My mom told me the only job I could get (because of my age) was picking grapes. So I picked grapes for 2 or 3 summers in Selma, California in the 1970’s.
Early in the morning I’d go off with my packed lunch and grape picking knife to the farm I worked on. I learned to cut the grapes and lay them on sheets of paper called trays. The trays seemed large to me and I am guessing they were 3ft. x 3ft. We picked for raisins. I filled each paper tray as thinly as I could, so I would get more pennies. No one told me to do this, I just knew this was what needed to happen if I wanted to get more pennies. It was dusty work, with many spiders, their webs and bugs under the vines and now I know poisons. Is this why my thyroid does not work properly?
I was paid as everyone was, no matter their age or their needs, whether they had a family or not, 7pennies a tray. I don’t know how much money the grape pickers get now, but I know it is hard work and that these people need to be paid a living wage, they need water and the shade of a big tree to rest under. I believe it is a service they do and that I did, to pick the food we eat.
Speaking no Spanish, I would sit under the big tree and eat my lunch with the other farm workers. I often wonder now what they thought of me; a little white girl dropped off by her mother each morning. As for myself, those memories of the tree and my lunch, the labor and the laborers are vivid in my mind and have influenced me throughout my life.
Let us remember, as I was reminded recently by an article written by Larry Gallagher, “The Compassion Instinct”, we are he, he is me and we are everyone; their pain or happiness is ours and the food they pick, we eat, they eat.
Please urge California Governor Brown to do the right thing for the Farm Workers in California, maybe then “the right thing” can spread to Georgia.
sarah

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Posted August 16, 2011 by sarahdorrance in Thinking, Uncategorized

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