From Seed to Harvest
“You can put that I’m Felipe from Zidaza, Querétaro. Even though I moved here in ‘83, I will never forget my roots or my beloved state.
There’s so much I miss from home: the food, family, and the way of life. I’ve returned to Querétaro once, but my children are here. I’ve been able to raise my family and show them the agricultural lifestyle. Everything I know about agriculture is thanks to how my parents raised me. I didn’t give my family riches, but my work gave me the opportunity to give them what they needed. I thank God for the opportunity to live in this country and see my family grow.
I’ve worked in the fields with joy because it’s a job that feeds others, possibly all over the world. For those of us that work in agriculture, we are happy and proud of the work we do. We see our food grow from when it’s planted to when it’s harvested. I’ve loved everything about seeing produce begin its life and how it ends up on the tables of those that need it most. Then we follow the crops up north and do it again. I decided to stay here because this town has plenty of agricultural work and it reminds me of my hometown. There’s construction here and it pays more, but I don’t like it. I love what I do. It’s a beautiful thing.
I’m thankful that farmworkers are being recognized more for what we do. We’re being taken into consideration. Before, people wouldn’t pay attention to us on the streets and it felt like we we're invisible to some. We’re humble people who treat each other with respect no matter who you are. I’m happy to share more about myself because this isn’t something people have been able to do before. I remember how poor the working conditions were and the type of living conditions we had. You had to watch your step in the trailers we rented because we were afraid to fall through the floor because of how many holes there were. I suffered, but I’m thankful my children didn’t have to suffer as much as I did. My grandkids will grow up in a different world than me.
I don’t have money, but I have the most precious thing in the world: my children. Only God can take that away from me.”
Felipe, a loving father, reflects on his experience growing our nation’s food over the last four decades. I was surprised to find out that he worked with my father, a crew leader, over a decade ago. He is one of many hardworking individuals in Immokalee getting up daily to provide our country with nourishment. Be sure to thank a farmworker when you see them. They deserve our respect. Felipe was surprised to be thanked for what he does, but this should be normalized.
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Maria Plata is a Mexican-American writer, educator, and lover of connecting people through storytelling.