Week 14: Sept 4, 2018

Laboring on Labor Day

The origins of Labor Day were the topic of discussion on the farm today. Your farmers spent the day harvesting for Tuesday’s share distribution. In planning for not having a crew here like a normal Monday, we tried to choose “easy” items for the share thinking we could get a few things done on our own without our workers. Bear in mind that all summer we have had four hardworking women harvesting and washing on Mondays in addition to ourselves. We did not get a lot done without them.

The holiday was initiated well over 100 years ago while our nation was struggling to improve working conditions. There was no such thing as an eight-hour work day and there were no age limits in the workplace. People were working seven days a week, often 12 hours a day. Children were employed in factories because they would work for less money than adults. There were no safety regulations. The holiday was born from the labor movement during the industrial revolution to give people a break from grueling, hard work. It was during this time that people were starting to organize and work as a group to demand better wages and better working conditions.

What those people did back in the 1800’s isn’t completely different from what needs to happen today in farming. Folks need to figure out how to work together to make things better for the whole. But instead of striking for the attention of the company boss, farmers need to work together to improve markets and stabilize the chains of supply and demand increase the value of our commodities. We aren’t talking about corporate farms, we are referring to the little guys, family farms. Sustainable growers like us, trying to make a difference. Those without a voice and no such thing as a marketing budget. There is a group trying to do just this. It is called the Farmer’s Union and we are proud to be members. There may not be a national holiday for farmers, but there is a lot to celebrate compared to where we were as a nation when Labor Day was initiated in 1882.

Laboring on our terms,

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