Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sarah Palin on migrant labor and apples

This article from the Reuters blog mentions a pre-election conversation the Vice Presidential candidate had with a Pennsylvania apple grower, in which the Alaska governor assumes his biggest worry must be Chinese imports. But in truth the grower is more concerned about Washington State apples, which represent 60% of the apples grown in the U.S. The Pennsylvania orchardist expressed concern that he could not find enough migrant labor to pick the harvest, and no other local workers could be found who would do it.

The comments this article sparks, about immigration and migrant labor, among other things, is interesting.

In other related news, this video from looks at a similar labor shortage in Europe during crucial periods of fruit harvesting.

This article details the history of migrant labor and fruit harvests in Washington State. And, from 2006, an artic le on the importance of migrant labor in the NY State apple harvest, in Poughkeepsie.

I am of the opinion that jobs should be given to whoever needs them, and in this case, whoever wants them. What troubles me is that, with such high levels of unemployment is so many areas, how is it that people are unwilling to pick apples for a living? I honestly believe one reason we have been looking at the erosion of small farm concerns in this country is that people just don't see this kind of work as proper employment any more. If it's not in an office or a shopping mall, it's somehow not worthy of us. This is silly. What happened to good, honest, physical labor? And what better work is there than growing healthy food?

BTW, the new blog image is from Flickr photographer LinnMarr:


Chas S. Clifton said...

How about an education system that focuses on college? And then some of those unprepared, unwilling students turn up in my classroom...

When was the last time you heard a K-12 teacher suggest that picking apples was an appropriate job -- for some people, at some times?

Peg said...

I completely agree. I cringe at the thought of how ill-prepared some of these kids with a barely-earned liberal arts degree are gong to be for life in the real world. And how much they will hate the awful desk jobs they end up with.
Or, worse, how we will be forced to fill jobs with these people because that's all there is to chose from.