Thursday, November 12, 2015

Farms depending on unpaid work: A canadian worker perspective

I've been very critical of farms who offer unpaid "internships" that appear to me to be mostly just low cost labor for the farm, and apparently farm workers in Canada are feeling the same sort of thing.  I recently ran across this article that talks about the situation related to organic farms in various provinces in Canada.

Don't get me wrong; I do train and teach the people who work for me -- but that's called training cost, and it's part of the responsibility of an employer, not some sort of special favor I do the employees.

What a lot of farms call "intern programs" I call the exploitation of the naive.   If you cannot pay your workers for the work, I'm going to say that you should sell your farm and let a more efficient, and fairer, operator take over.

That's the upside of a farm auction.  A less efficient operator goes, and a more efficient one comes in -- or they too, get auctioned.

When I talk about farms that have gone out of business, like Rebecca Thistlewaites TLC ranch, it's not obvious that the week that she moved off that land someone else moved onto it, and it's been farmed ever since.

The name on the gate might change, but the ground is going to be farmed if it's any good at all, and hopefully by someone who can figure out the profit puzzle.

Rebecca is available to teach you how to make a profitable farm, by the way.

1 comment:

Bill Gauch said...

I think I've said this in a comment before but there is the idea of Agro-tourism which is a perfectly legit business model for a farm. There is also the value associated with meals, housing and other in-kind payments if those are provided to the laborers. That said, I totally agree that farm labor should be paid labor or you shouldn't be hiring farm labor.