Friday, March 7, 2014

Finding a View Point

All week we have been trying to learn and develop a personal opinion on the migrant farm workers in Immokalee.  Today we were given a fantastic opportunity to a personal tour of a Lipman farm. The Lipman farm recently signed on to a food agreement with Walmart to make sure their workers are being treated with dignity and respect. At the farm we were shown tomatos, green beans, green peppers, and oranges. I was amazed at the amount of produce that is not marketable to consumers. The tour guide told us that 50% of the produce they pick is tossed away and not sold. This is not because the food is bad but, because the produce is unappealing to the eye of the consumer. We also were able to ask many questions on the wages of farmworkers and were assured in an indirect way that each worker makes at least minimum wage each hour they work in the field. The most intresting part was seeing the workers housing on the farm. I was expecting them to be small and dirty, but they were about the same space as a college dorm room with bathrooms and a kitchen. We were told Lipman farms houses 95% of their workers on thier farms. Another surprising thing we were told that this Lipman farms plant crops for 52 weeks a year so most of the farmworkers at this farm stay and work all of these weeks besides the people who come with workers contracts from Mexico to work on the farms for a few weeks. 

The whole experience at the farm really contrasted the talk that we had with Gloria last night. At the farm, the man that gave the tour was very diplomatic in all his answers. I felt their was some unsaid information from the man giving the tour but also from the farmworker Gloria. This experience has compelled me to look further into the issues regarding immigration and the laws currently in place in our county because both of these groups have contrasting view points on immigration. One of the most prominent topics disucssed by the group this week is the ideal of a straight awnser to an issue. We can all agree that one does not exist for the issues down in Immokalee. This frustrates me. We can walk around the fields and learn about all the positive things the farm is doing but they will not tell you about the negative aspects to the buisness. Likewise to the farmworkers; they will tell you all the information about the farmers that is negative but not the positives of the business. This makes it extremely difficult to find information that is not bias on the topic of immigration and farmworkers. But this is true on every situation. This trip has opened my eyes to think more citically about what information the media and public pay attention to and what they ignore or hide. 

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