honoring the hands that feed
The relentless labor of over 1,000 migrant workers from Latin America is a vital part of our food system, yet it sometimes goes unnoticed in the lovely settings of Vermont, where rolling hills meet expansive dairy farms. Despite the closure of many dairy farms, these hardworking people play a crucial role in Vermont’s dairy industry, producing 60% of the milk consumed in New England.
These employees put up with tough schedules and labor 365 days a year to ensure that cows are milked every 12 hours and do several important farm jobs. They struggle to gain access to the fundamental community resources that many of us take for granted, even though their efforts are constantly ignored.
The fact that illegal immigrants produce around half of Vermont’s milk shows how important these people are to the state’s dairy economy. They contribute to the system by paying taxes, but they do not directly profit from it because they do not have legal means to work on Vermont dairy farms.
Organizations like the Migrant Justice and Vermont Migrant Education Programme, among others, work relentlessly to support these migrant workers despite these obstacles. In addition to offering necessary services and acting as a link between the farmworker community and crucial resources, they also fight for their rights.
The Charlotte Grange supports these initiatives and works to protect the agricultural roots that serve as the foundation of our community. Their clothing drive for migrant farmworkers carried out in association with Addison Allies, exemplifies the kindness and assistance required to uplift these workers who are vital to maintaining Vermont’s farms and dairy industry.
It is crucial for us as a society to acknowledge and value the enormous contribution made by migrant workers to Vermont’s dairy industry. We can assure a more just and resilient future for everyone by banding together to support them, fight for fair treatment, and create avenues for lawful employment.