Today, Edgar, Martin and more than a dozen other migrants are at an organic lettuce farm in El Centro, the county seat and cradle of agriculture in the Imperial Valley. Just before dawn, the group trudges to the rows of romaine. They work the land in a line, down and back, racing machinery and each other, for 8 to 10 hours with a short mid-morning break. The task at hand—removing smaller sprouts so that the more promising ones can thrive—is repetitive and rhythmic, while posing just enough variation to demand focus with the physicality.
“The day we stop working will be the day that we are very sick,” Martin says.
Edgar laughs, “Still you will go to work.”
The Farm Workers Appreciation Breakfast in Calexico recognizes the hands that feed us annually. Meanwhile, its many sponsors provide migrant farm workers with the services and support they need daily. See how you can contribute.