This week we celebrate farmworkers and the contributions they make to society. We also must be reminded of the progress that is yet to be made regarding their welfare, health, safety and rights.
So much emotion wells up inside me when I begin to think about the workers who make our farm possible. They are not just “labor” or easily replaceable workers. They can’t just be picked up on the corner and given a shovel. They are skilled, devoted and hardworking people who take immense pride in their work. They long, like people in every other profession, to have purpose and to be guided to success. They have families to provide for and a legacy of being the backbone of the agricultural industry. To break the stigma of farmworkers, we do everything we can to show you the people who contribute to our farm. They are so valuable and we’re incredibly grateful for each of them.
Over the years I have shared a lot about the men who work at Grace Rose Farm. Today I want to tell you about Hortencia, someone we have come to love and cherish at our farm.
Hortencia has been working with us for the past year. She’s a proud mother to three. She has been studying English so she can better provide for her family. Hortencia showed early signs of wanting to know each rose variety, so she set out to learn the names and characteristics of each. She has gone on to teach other women in our production room about the roses. One of the things so beautiful about Hortencia is the support she gives her 19-year-old daughter. During the winter break and times when her daughter doesn’t have classes, she would come to work with Hortencia to earn money for college. We quickly saw that her daughter is as amazing as Hortencia and wanted to hire her. But no, Hortencia and her daughter turned us down, even though they could definitely use the second income from her daughter working. Hortencia told us that her daughter will be a full time student and education comes first, even if she herself has to work two jobs so her daughter can go to college. I was so proud of Hortencia for standing up for her daughter’s education and know she will be have beautiful opportunities in her future! A mother’s sacrifice for the betterment of her children is the most beautiful thing in the world. Hortencia's daughter is the first in their family to go to college and we couldn't be more proud.
As our growing season starts this year, I am committed to telling you the stories of the many people who make Grace Rose Farm possible. Rain, shine, wind, massive projects, tight deadlines and scorching summer days don’t slow them down. We are committed to providing each of them with gainful employment and a place where they can be proud to call themselves part of our farm family. I want to remind you that we all rely upon farmworkers every single day of our lives for food and your support of our farm helps us give these wonderful people year-round work in an industry that can be brutally hard for them to find consistent work. Each rose we harvest and ship gives opportunity to people who love what they do.