#8 Refinement and Goals

I want to create a small change that impacts the lives of migrant workers in more farm populated areas for the better. I want to do that by creating gardens that supply workers with healthy and culturally accurate food.

My audience will be anyone who is willing to make a change and cares about what will happen if they don’t .

I think I’m probably at a level 10 when it comes to enthusiasm towards my topic. I’m really excited to hear more stories and make a difference.

 

This is my refined pitch.

Everyone’s eaten a dairy product, right? You’ve probably had milk, or cheese, spread butter on something, and eaten ice cream. And you’ve probably looked at the company brand and wondered where it came from. But have you ever wondered who is working on the farms? Most people don’t. Most people also don’t think about whether the workers on the farms are immigrants and what their situation is. I’m going to tell you the story, why you should care, and I want to do with this issue.

The economy of Vermont is mostly based off of agriculture and that includes dairy. Actually 70% of the economy is dependent on the farms in our state. That’s almost 3/4 of our economy. Most dairy farmers hire migrant workers because they are willing to do the work and will do it for less than the minimum wage. Most Americans are not willing to do the work even if they are jobless. Instead they go to college for white collared jobs, leaving mostly immigrants to work Vermont’s farms. What do you think would happen if you deported all of the immigrants? No one would be left to work on the farms, resulting in the farms closing down, causing the companies that were supplied by the farms to close down. This would then cause a lot of people to loose their jobs and they would either move out of the state to find better ones and therefore the population of Vermont would decrease, or they would go into debt. Those two scenarios both would lead to a possible economy collapse, all because you took away the migrant workers.

As I already said, farmers hire migrant workers because they are hardworking and willing to do work no one else will do. What I didn’t say was that these immigrant workers need these jobs, desperately. The tiny amount of money that they earn goes to either themselves or their families that are either in the US or in their origin country. The migrant worker’s dependency of the job can lead to abuse from the farmer. Some farmers threaten workers with deportation or having them be fired whenever they come to them with a complaint about their living situations, work hours, and/or wages. Migrant workers live in small, unfair quarters. The regulation says each immigrant should have 200 square feet to live in. It’s required to have a functioning bathroom and kitchen, but these regulations aren’t monitored. How could they be if the people they were trying to watch weren’t supposed to be there? The migrant workers are also paid below the minimum wage and work 12 hours a day and sometimes 7 days a week.  They have to provide their own food and can’t drive. They aren’t allowed to get and education and if someone gets hurt, they would rather treat it at the farm than call an ambulance and risk getting deported.

I’m very passionate about this topic. I think it impacts the future of Vermont significantly. Without sufficient healthy food, immigrants risk getting sick or injured more often. This only leads to the need for medical help and possible deportation. I want to reach out to other programs that already provide food and nutritional counseling for people in need such as W.I.C., Meals on Wheels, local food shelves, and Vermont Gleaning Collective. I want to use their help to create a program that supplies migrant workers with fresh and healthy food as well as nutritional counseling in an easy and affordable way. My idea is to talk with these programs and use their advice and possible assistance to create a fresh produce ordering and delivery website for migrant workers written in Spanish. This order system would be entered by either a willing farmer or a volunteer. The migrant workers would still be paying money for the food, but the food would be the same price as junk food instead of the normal price for fresh food. Fresh produce from local farms would be purchased through the food hub that then would be delivered to the farms. This is still a big task and it will only be possible if I have help from other people. I would like you to help me create a difference and change the lives of immigrants all over the state for the better. If you love ice cream, milk, cheese, or butter, you should care about the people who make it. Thank you.

My Slideshow

Sources:

“Vermont Farm Worker Wage, Hour, and Housing Fact Sheet.” N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2016.

Chen, Grace. “Public School Review Diversity Report: Which States Have …” LGBT Weekly. N.p., 6 Aug. 2016. Web. 22 Oct. 2016.

Vallotton’s Dairy Farm by Marco

Elsa Lindenmeyr

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