”We are only shoulders here, wanted because we do the work no one else wants to do.”
Every year you can see them as you drive by the fields, hundreds of strong backs laboring under the hot summer sun to bring in the harvest. Their work only happens during this time of year, and it is inevitable that many of these individuals are here only for this task, and set to return to their home country afterward. Farmworker Appreciation Day was made to help raise awareness of these often forgotten bastions of the economy, and remind us to be thankful for all they’ve done.
History of Farmworker Appreciation Day
Farmworker Appreciation Day was created to be a moment of action and appreciation for these workers and to raise awareness of the issues they face every year. Farmworkers help keep the world fed and work what is considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the first world, and yet the often not protected by the same laws that protect other workers. This is due in part to their seasonal status and their tendency to be immigrant workers who return to their home country after the harvest is complete.
Some of the hazards they face in their line of work include exposure to pesticides and fertilizers that can be toxic and cause rashes or worse to those exposed to them and the perils of working under the punishing summer sun for hours on end without shade. In the course of their jobs they apply pesticides, dig in fertilized soil, and harvest those same plants they previously doused with poison. In such perilous conditions, it’s not surprising that many die and fall sick each year from the hazards of their job.
How to Celebrate Farmworker Appreciation Day
Celebrating Farmworker Appreciation Day is simple, and a great chance to share your generosity with those whose labor brings produce to your table. Drop by the places where they work with refreshments and supplies for them to enjoy on their breaks, and don’t forget to bring easily portable water supplies! They may have water available, but not all of them have ways to carry it into the field. Also, to help protect them from the stress of working in the day’s heat and the pesticides and fertilizers they encounter, bring long-sleeved shirts to help protect them! They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll feel good knowing you helped those who helped bring food to your table.