Summer Week #20: Wednesday, October 22nd– Group B EOs (Final Box for all REG and EO-B Members)
As we come to a close of the summer CSA season, I would like to use my weekly forum to thank our employees.
Seasonal farm work is hard. And I mean this in two ways. The work itself is physically challenging – and so is its seasonality.
Our employees work their bodies hard. Much of a day consists of continual bending and squatting to the ground. The tasks can be very repetitive, yet a high level of knowledge is required for each specific crop. As the season moves forward, things get heavier and the crew find themselves routinely lifting 40 pound crates of food throughout the day. They work in the hot sun, heavy mud, cold drizzle, and more. Whether it’s the weather or their bodies, they work through a multitude of physical discomforts.
We simply could not do what we do as Crossroads without them.
Seasonal work is also challenging in that it makes a stable employment and income picture difficult for our employees. At our farm, we are only able to keep 1 employee on year round, and that is only with part time work from December – March. While we are proud of what we pay our employees (the new proposed $10.10 minimum wage is the bottom of our pay scale here), we are only able to offer full-time work to our main crew for about 5-6 months. This leaves them having to find winter work that they then have to quit if they want to come back to us again.
We so appreciate our employees and all that they do. I thought I’d tell you a little about each of them. I’m not going to say in each bio that they work hard, because that’s true for all of them. Here’s introducing 2014′s main crew:
Douglas This is his 5th full season with us (on top of many other seasons he has worked in agriculture over the years). Douglas has a calm and easy temperament. He never complains, and he sets such a wonderful example in both attitude and work ethic for others who come to work here. He’s skilled with a knife and is full of fascinating conversation and stories. We are thrilled he has decided to return for another season.
Kai This is Kai’s first season with us, though he has worked at several other farms in Wisconsin, California, and Japan. He’s quick-handed and a keen observer in moving one’s body efficiently. He grew up on a commune and went through a Montessori education. He is an exemplar of the self-taught and inspires us with his continual learning. He’s hoping to run his own farm one day.
Kate This is Kate’s first full season with us, though she worked part of the end of last season. A Middleton native, Kate is quieter, but don’t let her fool you. In what has been a very male-dominated crew this year, Kate holds her own. She’s detail oriented and aspires to run her own farm one day. She’s toying with going to a farmer apprenticeship program on the east coast next season. Whether she returns here or goes there, our support will be with her.
Tom This is Tom’s first season with us. He’s from an Italian family in New Jersey. He is also a converted Muslim, who is extremely dedicated to his religion and the community that surrounds it. With a wife and small child at home, he still finds time to volunteer for a teen group at his mosque. While farming is a deep interest to Tom, he will most likely move to Saudi Arabia next season to begin a scholarship program at an elite Muslim university. We’ll miss his sense of humor.
While not part of our main crew, I do want to make mention of several other members of our crew.
Jada She started as a high school worker share with us and finished her 4th season on field crew with us in August. She’s now a senior at Beloit College.
Eric A quiet grad student, Eric worked here in the fields for his summer months to add a more experiential dimension to his PhD studies in the Geography program at UW.
Eva Eva worked a season and half in the fields for us, and then continued to work with us in the capacity of farmer’s market crew. This is her 7th season with us. She helps us run our market stall every Saturday for 30 weeks of the year. She’s warm and wonderful with our customers.
Julie Last but not least, Julie too works in the farmer’s market realm, and also sometimes helps us do packing work for wholesale in our high season. Julie has a calm, peaceful manner and is great with our customers. This is her 4th season with us.
THANK YOU to all of our crew for all you do.
And THANK YOU to all of you, our CSA members for your support this season. Have a safe and relaxing winter!
Mike, Cassie, Zea, Edie, and number 3 on the way.