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Jamie from the Kootenay Co-op Recounts His Experience Farming in Mexico
The following blog was written by Jamie Perchie from the Kootenay Co-op, who was one of 10 participants selected for an internship to farm in Northern Mexico at the Ejido Benito Juarez Leyes de Reforma.
This past March, I was lucky to have to the opportunity to spend two weeks at the Ejido Benito Juarez Leyes de Reforma in Northern Mexico. It was a fantastic opportunity that allowed me to see first hand where our produce comes from and all the hard work that goes into getting fruit and veggies to our shelves in Canada.
I worked long days in the fields alongside the other farmers at the Ejido, with the typical farming day starting at 6:30 am by picking the crops and pre-washing them before sending them off to the packing shed. After we picked whatever was ready, we then cleaned up the other plants by pulling off the outer leaves, allowing room for the plant to grow until the next harvest. During the time I spent at the Ejido they were mainly growing beets, chards, kales, corn and collards.
The days I spent on the farm were very hot and my joints ached from constantly being bent over, and on my knees to harvest the crops - which are daily realities for Mexican agricultural workers. Through this experience, I realized how much labour actually goes into growing our food, and how much this is taken for granted in Canada. Now when someone complains about the price that we pay for our produce, I think back to those long, hard days that I spent in farming in Mexico, and sympathize with the farmers who work so hard year-round to grow our food.
All in all, being in the shoes of a Mexican farmer was an incredibly eye opening experience that gave me a greater appreciation for the food that we have in our produce department at the Kootenay Coop, and made me grateful for the job that I have in Canada.