Marino, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
I’m Marino and I come from the state of Puebla in Mexico. I’ve been coming for eight seasons to three farms. This is my first year at this greenhouse.
I really like the culture here in Canada and the people. People know that we come to contribute a lot to the economy, but also the people here give us a lot. Our lives have changed a lot because of this in Mexico and not only in Mexico, but also in other Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras.
For me personally, my life and the lives of my children has changed a lot because I work here. In the end, all of this is for their future.
My family gets very sad when I come. Nowadays there is a lot of technology available, to make a video call, to be more connected. It is a little better than before but it is still very sad for them and for us. I think everyone here really misses their family. We try to be strong because of the need for work and a little extra money. Our economic situation is better than being in Mexico.
I am grateful to Canada and to the employers who have actually contributed a lot to Mexico and Central America. As I repeat, for all of us, much has changed in our lives and even more for the future of our children. The people of Canada are very good and they have a very nice culture in every way.
Marino, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
Paulino, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
Hello friends. My name is Paulino and I come from the state of Guerrero, Mexico. I’ve been in this program for approximately 13 years and have been at DC Farms about eight years. As a worker, I have a lot of experience with cucumber and eggplant.
Back home, I am a musician. I play the trumpet in a band. I bring my trumpet to Canada with me and try to play every day. Aside from the music, since I was a kid, I have worked as a shoe shiner. I shine people’s shoes in the downtown area.
When I come here, my family are happy. This is the only way we can get by, more or less.
It is very nice here. Canada is very beautiful by its nature, deer, rabbits, turtles and everything that is nature - all is green. Yes, the green from nature is very beautiful.
Paulino, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
Neil, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Trinidad and Tobago, working in a strawberry plant greenhouse
I’m Neil and it’s my 11th year coming to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago. Ever since high school, I’ve always liked farming. My uncle came to Canada to work for about 33 years too so I knew about the program from him. I’ve always worked on this same farm. It’s a greenhouse that specializes in growing strawberry plants.
Normally, we come from the beginning of March until the end of October. This year, though, the business is expanding so we’ll likely stay until mid-November.
Before I came to Canada, I worked as a security officer – both at the University of the West Indies and at Piarco International Airport. Now when I’m home, I do roofing as a sub-contractor.
Back home, I have a fiancée and a seven year old daughter. We don’t have a wedding date set yet but hopefully soon. Someday, I really hope they can visit Canada.
I’ve learned so much since coming here. The farmers are always so willing to show us everything they know. They’ve really helped to build my confidence in doing the work that I do here. I’ve also got a great team of coworkers. We enjoy being together.
Marco Antonio, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
I am Marco Antonio and I come from Mexico. I have been working here in Canada for 20 seasons and at DC Farms for 13 seasons. Everything is fine, comfortable, and I am very happy.
When I first came here from Mexico, it was a little sad for my family, to leave them alone, to stop seeing each other for a season. On my return, my family is always very happy. We communicate by video call when we are far apart and while it is not the same as being in person, we talk a lot when we are separated. What I earn here is invested in Mexico and helps provide economic stability for my whole family.
Back home, I am an agricultural worker. I also work in the fields with corn, oats, beans and wheat. My job here at DC Farm is to work with the tomatoes.
Thank you to the Canadians who let us into their country. I am happy and I like the Canadian culture for giving us the opportunity to work here. In Mexico, there are not these kinds of opportunities and here I am very happy.
Marco Antonio, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
Victorino, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
My name is Victorino. My job here at DC Farms is to work with eggplants and cucumbers. We are very comfortable at this farm and we hope that we return next year. More than anything we are very grateful to farmers Ernie, Mary and Mike.
I have been at this farm for eight years. My family now is much better economically than before and they are very comfortable. Now they live very differently, their lives have been changed thanks to the Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program. I am grateful for that.
Whenever I return to Mexico, I also work in the fields. I plant corn, barley, wheat and potatoes.
Myron, fruit orchard employee and Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica.
I’ve been coming here since 2008 and always coming to this farm. Because this is the first farm and I don’t find any fault with it so that’s the reason I’m here. As long as the boss is good to me, I’m still going to be here!
Back home in Jamaica, I did some farming – planted yams and raised animals. So this program made sense. Sometimes I come in February. This year I came on the 25th of March. Last year during COVID, it was different. We just stayed on the farm and didn’t go anywhere. Our boss did some shopping for us and we stayed safe. This year, we’ve gotten our two shots already. It feels good.
When we come here in March, we do some pruning on the grapes and select the better shoots to tie down so they can start to grow. Now we’re into harvest with cherries, apricots and peaches. Apricots are my favourite fruit but I eat some peaches at times. My family is doing OK, you know. I’ve got three daughters. They’re grown up. The oldest is 26. I don’t have any grandbabies yet that I know of! I talk to them most days.
For fun, I watch some shows and play dominoes. I don’t know if I’m really good but I can play.
Juan Carlos, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
My name is Juan Carlos and I come from the State of Guanajuato. My reason to be here, to come here to Canada, is for the welfare of my family, to help them and to give my children a good future.
I have come for 14 years. My job here at the farm is to pick and package the product. Once I am finished packaging, I also do maintenance, repair the vehicles, and so on.
At first, my family was sad because I come here, but the days pass and we know that I have to go out to seek a better life for the children, for my wife, for our parents who we also help when we can. There are low times, there are good times and more than anything you have to give it all to get ahead.
I like the people here. They are nice. I am grateful to Canada, for the opportunity it gives to many people like in Mexico, Central America and many countries. Unfortunately, in our countries, there aren’t the opportunities like the ones Canada offers and I thank the people and the employers who give us this opportunity to come to work here.
Juan Carlos, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
Keron, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica working on a broccoli farm
My name is Keron and I come from the great land of Jamaica – the land of sun and water! I’ve been coming here for nine years. Our MP distributed some information on the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and I applied. There’s always more people apply than get chosen so I was glad to get chosen.
I like working on this broccoli farm. Canada’s a very nice country. It’s got a nice environment and it’s clean but it’s too cold! The people are honest and hardworking and everyone’s OK. I work as a lead hand here. I help plant and harvest and serve as a supervisor in the field. If anyone’s experiencing trouble, I’m there to help.
I’ve got two children, a son aged 14 and a daughter 10. No one ever wants to leave their family and it was hard coming here at first but you have to sacrifice something to get something. Now, we’re all kind of used to it.
For fun, I like to exercise. I ride a bike and enjoy going for walks.
Ryan H., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“I work to achieve more for my family.”
Before he decided to come to Canada, Ryan H. worked as an Administrative Clerk in his home country of Jamaica. But for over 10 years, Ryan has been working at Nature Fresh Farms as a Guest Worker through the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program!
Making a better living to support his family is ultimately why Ryan decided to come to Canada and become a Guest Worker: “The main reason I came to Canada was to make better money than I was making back home. I also like the stability and balance I get working at Nature Fresh Farms. I can give my family and kids a better life I probably wouldn’t have been able to give them otherwise.”
There are a few key skills that Ryan has developed over the years that help him excel in his role: “You need to have good communication skills in this role, both for speaking and listening. Comprehension is also very important, so you know exactly what is being asked of you. And being able to do the job quickly is essential.”
During his spare time, Ryan enjoys visiting places and hanging out with the many friends he has made during his time working in Canada. Ryan also likes checking in with his family back home in Jamaica.
Ryan’s primary role on our farm is to hand-pick our produce with the utmost care and speed. But Ryan also performs any other General Labor tasks that need to be completed to keep our plants maintained and healthy. Ryan is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Facundo, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working on a vegetable farm
This was the first farm I came to in Canada five years ago and it’ll be the last one too. It’s really good working here. They have machines to help with everything which makes the work easier for us.
A friend of mine first came as a Seasonal Agriculture Worker and told me about the program. Back home, I farmed sugar cane. It’s hard to get a permit but I was one of the lucky ones to get into this program.
By coming here, I can get what my kids need. They’re ages nine and 11. I come here for a few months to work and then go back to spend time with them.
It was different during Covid. We had to go through a quarantine period before we could work but Nicki (one of the farmers) helped us with everything and helped us to be safe. It’s not quite normal now but it feels safe. We’re also vaccinated now which is great.
For fun, I like playing soccer with the guys here and hanging out with all of them.
Gervacio E., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“By working here in Canada, I’m trying to help the people back home who need it.”
Gervacio E. has been a Guest Worker at Nature Fresh Farms for the last 6 years, returning each year to help provide for his family and neighbors back home in Guatemala. From a humble family, Gervacio decided to come to Canada to provide a better quality of life for himself and his loved ones. As a harvester of corn and coffee in Guatemala, Gervacio decided to use these skills by getting involved with Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Overcoming the challenges his family and neighbors face in Guatemala is one of the most important reasons why Gervacio decided to come to Canada: “My parents didn’t have much, and where I’m from, many people do not have a lot of money. I want to help my family and neighbors overcome their situations by giving them some of the money I make here in Canada to build better housing. It comes from the bottom of my heart when I give back to those people.”
Gervacio sees Nature Fresh Farms as providing him a hand of support, and that he passes on that support when he gives back to his family and neighbors in Guatemala: “I have found an opportunity here that not a lot of people get back home. I’m very thankful for this opportunity to make a better living and I’m trying to make the most of it so I can help people as much as possible.”
As a lover of music, Gervacio always dreamed of going to school to become a music teacher. While that opportunity was not available to him in Guatemala, he still celebrates music by playing the organ at church here in Canada. Gervacio also enjoys cooking, playing soccer, and riding his bike in his free time.
As one of our Guest Workers, Gervacio always tries his best to get his crop maintenance work done on time and in the best way possible. He believes he must set a good example for his fellow Workers so everyone can work hard. Gervacio is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Aubrey, fruit orchard employee and Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica
I’ve been coming to Canada for 17 years from Jamaica. I used to work on an apple farm and then a greenhouse. I’ve been on this farm for 12 years. I like the grapes.
My family back home are farmers. I live near to the Blue Mountains. We grow coffee. I grew up in farming. Some Canadian coffees are nice but we have the real stuff.
I had some people back in Jamaica tell me about the seasonal agricultural worker program and they asked if I wanted to try it. I said yes. I do farming back home and I heard that it was farming here and I wanted to try it.
What’s different about Canada? We have no snow in Jamaica! When I first saw snow, I wondered what was going on because I’d never seen this before. I’d just seen snow on television and stuff like that. But I came to experience it so it was good. Each year I come in February and go home in September or October. Back home, I still farm – growing sweet potatoes, yams, cocoas, pumpkins and stuff like that. I also drive a taxi. I like to keep working and keep going.
I have a common law wife and three kids. My daughter is 22 and my sons are 17 and 10. I talk to them every minute and every second that I can. Pay checks here help my family. It made me have a house. It made me have my car. It does everything for me so I respect my job.
Cordia, Seasonal Agricultural Worker, working on fruit farm
I’m 36 years old and have been coming to Canada for six years. I’ve worked on three different farms as a Seasonal Agricultural Worker. I’ve been on this peach farm for two years.
Back home, I have three children –ages 16, 13 and 4. Yesterday was my four year old’s birthday and I wasn’t home for the celebration. Missing those events is always hard but I have help from my family back home and video chats help. My mom is amazing. She’s such a nice lady. My mom is a farmer so that’s what I do when I’m home. We grow crops like potatoes, yams and carrots.
I don’t mind hard work and I like it here. It’s good, honest work growing food. For fun, I love to dance, sing and read my Bible
Carlos M., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“I see a lot of potential to grow at Nature Fresh Farms.”
Originally from Honduras, Carlos M. came from a big family that also worked in agriculture. When Carlos was living full-time in Honduras, he worked as an electrician, went to school for forestry, and grew his own food. Carlos came to Canada from 2011 to 2013 as part of the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program before returning to Honduras. In 2019, Carlos came back to Canada and joined our team as a Guest Worker!
For Carlos, life in Honduras was hard, but he and his wife have big hopes for their future: “My wife is a very hardworking woman, so if we want to do something together back home, I think we would do something in agriculture to help our family. But if there are bigger opportunities for me in Canada, I would love to keep growing in this company and bring my wife and child here.”
Carlos really appreciates the opportunity that Nature Fresh Farms has given him to work at the farm and learn new things: “I’m thankful to God and to Nature Fresh Farms for giving me the opportunity to be here. I can give my family a better life, and I can observe and learn every day.”
In his free time, Carlos enjoys talking with his family back home, going for bike rides, cooking, and completing different carpentry projects.
Carlos spends each of his workdays completing a range of crop maintenance tasks. For Carlos, it’s also important that he respects his fellow General Laborers and their Supervisors, and that he gives 100% in everything he does while on the job. Carlos is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Mellissa, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica, working on a fruit farm
I first started coming to Canada as a Seasonal Agricultural Worker in 2009 and worked in an apple orchard in Nova Scotia but the owner got sick and I had to move. 2021 is my first year working on this peach and cherry farm in Ontario. It’s hard starting all over again meeting new people here but there aren’t any jobs or opportunity back home and by working here, I can help my family. The people I work with here are nice.
My husband is a mechanic in Kingston, Jamaica and he and my mom look after our two sons, age 13 and 9. By now, they’re used to me coming here. My kids would love to someday come here to see Canada. They’re always asking about it. I’m a Christian and in my free time, I like to read my Bible, pray, worship and sing gospel songs.
Yvonne (Peaches), Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica, working on a fruit farm
In processing plant I got the nickname Peaches when I was young –so it was a surprise, when I first came to Canada in 2000, that I found myself working on this peach farm!
Giovanni C., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“I feel safe working here.”
Originally from Mexico, Giovanni C. came to Canada to become a Guest Worker with Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program in 2016, and he has worked at Nature Fresh Farms since his arrival. Before coming to Canada, Giovanni worked for a forestry company in Mexico that planted new and removed old or damaged trees. We have been happy to have Giovanni as a member of our General Labor team!
Giovanni came to Canada to find a better life for himself and his family back home in Mexico, but he hopes to return to Mexico one day and start his own business: “I like a lot of things about life back in Mexico. When I was younger, I worked on a cattle farm—I wouldn’t mind starting something like that back home.”
Job security is something Giovanni is very thankful to have here at Nature Fresh Farms: “I think this is a very stable job for me. I live right by the farm, so I feel safe working here and I feel like I have good job security.”
When he has some free time, Giovanni enjoys playing sports like soccer. And during the colder winter months, Giovanni likes to stay indoors and read a book or try to learn something new!
As a fast learner who cares about his work, Giovanni makes sure he is doing his best each day to complete his tasks efficiently and confidently. Giovanni also believes it is important to respect his team members and to always be on time. Giovanni is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Coralee, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica, working on a fruit farm
One of my friends introduced me to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker program. I’ve been coming from Jamaica to work on this peach farm since 2009. Back home, I also do some farming. We raise chickens and I plant crops like yams. When I’m away, my brother looks after it for me.
I’ll be 50 in December and I have three sons age 22, 21 and 19. I also have a two-year grandson. When I first started coming here, my sons were very young. I was nervous leaving them but my mother and father looked after them. Me working here helps them. I talk to them every day. I remember the first time I saw snow in Canada. That was exciting. For fun, I like to play football.
Jose M., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“Nature Fresh Farms treat me like family.”
About 24 years ago, Jose M. decided to start working in Canada’s agricultural sector as part of the country’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Before finding his way to Nature Fresh Farms, Jose worked in construction in his home country of Mexico, and then on an apple farm for his first five years in Canada. Of all our guest workers, Jose has been here the longest – we have been happy to call him a member of the Nature Fresh Farms family for the last 19 years!
The main reason Jose decided to come to work in Canada was for better financial security: “The money is a lot better here in Canada. You can get a job back in Mexico, but the money you can make here is much greater compared to what you’d make back home. When I’m done working in Canada, I’d like to go back to Mexico to be with my wife and kids and be my own boss, maybe open a store.”
Although he is away from his wife and four kids while working here in Canada, Nature Fresh Farms has become an extended family for Jose: “Nature Fresh Farms is like a family because they treat me like family. That’s the biggest reason why I’ve stayed working here for so long. I’m happy to be here, and I think this company is happy to have me, too!”
In his free time, Jose enjoys reading and listening to music. He has also been working hard to learn English so he can do even better at work!
Since Jose has been working at Nature Fresh Farms for so long, he has a lot of knowledge that helps him complete any tasks he is given. For Jose, being on time, being efficient with his work, and paying attention to the quality of our products are also very important parts of his job. Jose is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Jorge C., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“I want my kids to have a better life than I had growing up – if they want to go to school, I want to be able to send them to school.”
Coming from a large and humble family in Guatemala, Jorge C. was raised with strong values and ambitions to always be better. Jorge had a few different jobs before deciding to come work as part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program – he worked at a canning factory, harvested corn and beans, and even drove a motorcycle taxi. But Jorge’s decision to work in Canada was made 5 years ago so that he could give his family a better life back home in Guatemala.
To Jorge, Nature Fresh Farms means opportunity and financial security: “I’m extremely happy to have worked here at Nature Fresh Farms for the last 5 years because I have had opportunities I never thought I could have had before. When I come into work, I give it my all because the money I make here goes a long way back home. It’s very important to me that my family has a good life.”
Jorge is also happy to have had this opportunity because it’s one of the main reasons why he can now see his career dreams coming true once he returns to Guatemala: “When I’m done working in Canada, I’d like to start my own business back home. I might get into growing corn and beans, but I also want to start a chicken farm and export eggs. I want to become a salesman.”
When Jorge has some free time, he enjoys getting active outside by riding his bike or going for a run, as well as listening to music. He also likes getting in touch with his family whenever he can.
Every day, Jorge completes a wide range of crop maintenance tasks. It is also important to Jorge that he respects everyone he works with and makes sure everybody is feeling comfortable with their jobs. Jorge is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Felena, Farm employee from Trinidad and Tobago
I’ve been coming to Canada from Trinidad since 2013. I saw an advertisement looking for farm workers and applied. Usually, I arrive in April but last year it was July 6 before I got here because borders were closed due to Covid.
Back home, I have two children – a girl age 16 and a boy age 13. They live with my mother when I’m here. I miss them a lot. I wasn’t able to get home after last year’s season because there were no flights going back to Trinidad. In July, it’ll have been a year since I saw my kids.
I hope someday to immigrate here with my family. That’s my intention. I want my kids to grow up to have the opportunity to do anything they want to do. That’s why I’m here.
Christmas in Trinidad is really festive so we tried to make it the same here. My housemates and I got a tree and decorated it with donated Christmas decorations. People in the community heard our story and donated presents and winter clothes for us and some even brought traditional Trinidadian groceries so that we could have a good Christmas. It’s been fun to see all the snow and to try some Canadian activities like ice fishing.
Desrine, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica, working on a fruit farm
I’ve been coming from Jamaica to work on this peach farm for 21 years. I heard about the program from my MP. I was pleased to be chosen. Not everyone gets selected. It seemed like a good way to help my family. I’ve got four children. Working here helped them go to school. Three of them now live in the USA.
I’m known for my restaurant and my wig collection. I like to cook and back home I have a restaurant called Dimples Restaurant. We serve a lot of things –like pork, rice and peas, steamed fish with crackers and more. I like cooking here too –and sometimes I sell my food to the workers. I also own about 25 wigs. They’re all different colours. I think I bought my first one when I was about 19 to go to a wedding. I buy them at different stores and I love wearing them.
Jose C., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“The supervisors here treat everyone well.”
Jose C. grew up in Guatemala as the youngest of five brothers. Back home, Jose found work growing broccoli and corn, but in 2018, he decided to come to Canada and work as part of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. Since he arrived, Jose has been a member of the Nature Fresh Farms General Labor team!
When Jose was deciding whether to come to Canada, his two brothers – who are also Guest Workers at our farm – motivated him to join the TFW Program: “My brothers told me about what it was like to work at Nature Fresh Farms, so I decided to come here, too. When I’m done here, I would love to buy some land back in Guatemala, build a house, and maybe even start a business like a convenience store.”
Working hard and with speed is something Jose always tries to do when completing his tasks in the greenhouse: “I always try to get the job done to the best of my ability. I also like working with some reggaetón music playing because it helps me get the job done faster!”
With both of his brothers also working at our farm, Jose likes to spend most of his free time hanging out with his family and friends.
As a General Laborer at our farm, Jose does the best he can to complete his crop maintenance tasks efficiently. Jose also believes it’s important to always respect his Supervisors as they show him and his teammates respect, as well. Jose is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Israel L., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“My dream is to start my own business that I can dedicate myself to and support my family with.”
For the last six years, Israel L. has worked at our greenhouse operation with Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Israel comes from a humble, affectionate family in Guatemala who have a desire to excel and always be better, so his choice to come to Canada was largely driven by his family’s ambition to live a better life.
With a family that values self-improvement, Israel’s choice to come to Canada made a lot of sense for him: “Before I came to Canada, I dedicated myself to agriculture back home, but I wanted to improve even more and to pursue my dreams of starting my own business in Guatemala and supporting my family. That’s why I decided to start working as part of this program.”
Israel is thankful to Nature Fresh Farms for the opportunity to work with them for several years: “Thank you Nature Fresh Farms – you have benefited me and my family so that we can have a better quality of life. This company helps people like me fulfill their dreams and improve themselves by providing good job opportunities.”
In his free time, Israel enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his friends and colleagues. He also enjoys talking with his family whenever he can!
As one of our valued team members, it is Israel’s responsibility to tackle a range of crop maintenance tasks with speed and care. Israel also believes in punctuality and giving his best effort to get the job done and comply with everything he is asked to do. Israel is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Yenifer L., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“It’s my goal to build my own home back in Guatemala.”
Yenifer L. has been working as part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program for the last year, and all her time within the program has been spent at Nature Fresh Farms. Originally from Guatemala, Yenifer previously worked growing and harvesting beans and corn in her home country. Now, she is saving as much money as she can here in Canada so she can have a good life in Guatemala.
Working in Canada not only promises a better life for her, but also for Yenifer’s family back home: “I decided to work as part of this program because I wanted to have a better life and also help my family in Guatemala have a better life. I want myself and my family to be more comfortable financially. Right now, I am saving most of my money because my goal is to return to my family and build my own home in Guatemala.”
While she has worked with us for just one year so far, Yenifer has learned a lot and grown as a person: “Nature Fresh Farms has allowed me to become a better version of myself and grow. I’m a fast learner so I’ve been able to learn how to do even more tasks with different types of plants like picking, de-leafing, and suckering.”
While working in the greenhouse takes up a lot of Yenifer’s time, she likes to relax by listening to music. She also enjoys hanging out with her friends whenever she can!
Alongside the other Guest Workers at our farms, Yenifer performs a wide range of crop maintenance tasks to keep our plants healthy and fruitful. However, it is also important to Yenifer that she is always on time, maintains a clean work environment, and respects every member of her team. Yenifer is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Martin S., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“I miss my family very much, but I’m also very happy to be working here to help them.”
For the last 10 years, Martin S. has been working at Nature Fresh Farms. Originally from Mexico, Martin decided to join Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program 14 years ago to help support his wife and six children financially. We have been happy to have Martin as a member of our team for the last decade!
Before coming to Canada, Martin worked in agriculture, but he has a different vision for his life once he retires from the TFW Program: “My mother owned some land in Mexico, so before I came to Canada, I worked on her land growing corn and beans. Now that I’m working here in Canada I want to keep working and saving money, but when I retire, I want to open a pharmacy back in Mexico.”
Nature Fresh Farms is a special company for Martin: “Nature Fresh Farms means a lot to me. There are lots of opportunities here for me to grow and learn, and the money I’ve made here has let me make a better life for my family back in Mexico.”
When Martin has some free time, he enjoys going to the beach, shopping, and going for runs in the afternoon after work. He also enjoys talking with his family whenever he can!
Since Martin has worked at Nature Fresh Farms for 10 years, he knows he can complete any task that comes his way! Whether it’s maintaining Tomato plants, picking Peppers, or anything in-between, Martin has been with our team long enough that he can always get the job done, no matter what. Martin is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Elder P., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“I want to be able to take care of my parents and my family.”
Back in his home country of Guatemala, Elder P. had a few different jobs, including picking coffee beans, delivering coffee beans by truck, growing corn, and even working as a mechanic. In 2018, Elder decided to come to Canada and become a Guest Worker as part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. Elder has been a great addition to our General Labor team!
The main reason Elder decided to join Canada’s TFW Program was to help support his family back home: “I’ve been able to accomplish a lot here in Canada, so I want to help pay off any of our family’s debts and continue building a house for my family. I want to make sure my family is taken care of in Guatemala.”
On top of genuinely enjoying the work he does at Nature Fresh Farms, Elder also enjoys finding ways he can improve in his work: “I’m a good listener—if there’s something I need to improve on, I’ll make sure I do it! And I’m always observing so I can see how I can do better. If I’m doing my best, I’m motivated to do good every day.”
Making music is how Elder likes to spend his free time. Elder knows how to play the guitar, bass, violin, keyboard, and guitarron (the large guitar found in mariachi bands)!
As one of our General Laborers, Elder is responsible for completing a wide range of crop maintenance tasks to keep our plants growing strong. Elder works hard to give his best effort in everything he does at our farm. Elder is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Tyrone J., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“The people at Nature Fresh Farms will listen when you’ve got something to say.”
About 14 years ago, Tyrone J. decided to stop working in his home country of Jamaica and join Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program in the agricultural sector. And for the entirety of his 14 years with the Canadian TFW Program, Tyrone has been a member of the Nature Fresh Farms team!
Back in Jamaica, Tyrone was doing a different job than what he does now in Canada: “I was working at a hardware store for a while, but I wanted to get better financial support, so that’s why I decided to come to Canada and work. At the time, I also wanted to see what it was like in a different country.”
With 14 years of work experience with Nature Fresh Farms, Tyrone has a good understanding of what this company is all about: “Nature Fresh Farms is a good company that treats people really nice. The people here are easy to talk to and will listen when you’ve got something to say – I really appreciate that. It’s a good feeling to be here, and my family is happy I’m working here, as well.”
Speaking of family: Tyrone has a teenage son and twin daughters who will be turning 1 year old in September! When he isn’t spending time talking or visiting with his family, Tyrone also enjoys watching movies and following sports like basketball and soccer.
Each day, Tyrone works alongside his fellow team members to perform a variety of crop maintenance tasks. For Tyrone, it’s also important to be on time, be respectful, and be yourself while at work. Tyrone is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Juan J., Guest worker at Nature Fresh Farms
“Nature Fresh Farms is a door that opened for me to have better opportunities.”
Hailing from Guatemala, Juan J. was a mechanic before he decided to come to Canada and join our country’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Juan made the decision to come to Canada because he wanted to give his family a better life and be able to bring more opportunities back with him to Guatemala. It has now been four years since Juan joined our team to support our greenhouse operation!
It’s very common for people back in Guatemala to grow and harvest different crops – Juan would like to pursue this same career once he returns to Guatemala: “After I’m done working here, I want to be with my family back home, but I would also love to be independent with my own business. I think I would like to either grow pineapples or coffee – I want to buy my own land with the money I’ve made here.”
For Juan, Nature Fresh Farms represents opportunities to learn and have a better tomorrow: “Nature Fresh Farms has helped me learn about growing in greenhouses, but they have also given me the opportunity to learn English and learn how to work with different people. These people have become like my family.”
One of Juan’s favorite ways to spend his free time is playing soccer. In Guatemala, he played in a high-level soccer league, so in 2019, he started organizing a Nature Fresh Farms soccer league with a large group of our Guest Workers!
Every day that Juan comes into work, he knows he needs to complete all his tasks safely and efficiently. Juan also knows he must respect and follow all the rules and regulations we’ve put in place to maintain our team’s health and well-being. Juan is one of our #GrowToPeople!
Fidencio, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working in a greenhouse
Back home in Mexico I wasn't a farmer, but I've been coming to Canada to work in a greenhouse for 10 years. I’m here for 7 or 8 months, and then I go home to my family. My favourite thing to do is pick tomatoes. In the greenhouse, we work as a team - and there’s always something to do, which keeps it interesting.
Frances and Quitia, Mother/daughter team of Seasonal Agricultural Workers from Trinidad and Tobago
Frances: I’ve been coming to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago to work on farms for eight years. It was hard to get here last year because borders were closed due to COVID. We normally come in the spring but it was July 6 before we got here and then we had to quarantine.
Quitia: Last year was my first year coming here with my mom. It was after harvest that we realized that we likely weren’t going to get home. And if we did go home, we might not be able to come back in the spring.
Frances: I have five kids and 12 grandkids back home. We talk to our family every day on Facetime. At first, it was hard knowing that we were going to be staying in Canada for Christmas and for the winter. But then people heard our story to the farm and brought us some of the ingredients we needed to make a traditional Trinidad Christmas dinner with dishes like fried rice and macaroni pie. And in the end, Christmas was wonderful. We didn’t miss anything except our family
Quitia: The farmers got winter coats and boots for us and it turned out to be a lovely Canadian experience. It is cold here though. It’s really hot back home.
Frances: It is too early to say what will happen at the end of this season.
Hopeton and Denroy, Father/son team of Seasonal Agricultural Workers from Jamaica
Hopeton: My son Denroy was three years old when I started coming from Jamaica to work on this farm. That was 33 years ago. It was a big decision for my wife, Angela, and I to take this job. But it’s not really easy sometimes to get a job back home. She and I met when we were 16 years old so we’ve been together almost 50 years. She raised our children while I came here to work. Both of us had to work hard in different places.
Denroy: I’ve been coming here with my dad for 14 years. I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like from hearing his stories and now, my life is much like his was I was young. I have two children. We’ve had a baby girl born since I came here this year. I can’t wait to meet her when I get home.
Hopeton: I’ve enjoyed working in Canada. I never had any farm experience before but learning how to farm here has kept me really active. That’s why I’ve been coming here so long even though it can be hard work – especially picking apples when the weather gets cold. At home, it’s always warm.
Denroy: I talk to my family back home as much as I can. Things are different now. When I was little, it was expensive for my dad to call home. There was no internet either. Now, I can talk to my family most days.
Ricardo, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Trinidad and Tobago
I’ve been coming to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago for 15 years to work on farms here. I’ve been working on this farm for 11 years. Normally, I arrive in April and go home in November but due to COVID, I didn’t get here until July this year and then had to isolate for two weeks before I could start work.
I remember my first day of work in Canada. I thought, ‘Wow! This place is so strange. Houses are so far apart’. At home it’s also hot 12 months of the year so I like the weather here. The first time I got to shovel snow was fun! I watch hockey but I don’t really understand the sport.
I’d heard about the Seasonal Worker Program back home and knew some people that had been hired through the program so I started asking more questions. When I was young, I’d plant rice with my grandparents, uncles and aunties and I’d studied Agrisciences at school. I enjoyed farming and thought that the program would be a good fit for me and it was. I enjoy doing this.
Working here has certainly improved my life back home. I’d recommend this program to anyone who is a hard worker and who has some ambition. If you’re young, it’s a great place to get started.
When I’m home on the off season, I work in retail sales. I’ve been doing that since I left school. I love to play cricket and some soccer and I have a 1974 Ford Escort that’s my hobby car.
Prince and Ricardo, Father/son team of Seasonal Agricultural Workers from Jamaica
Prince: My name is Prince but I’m not a rock star - I’m an apple star! I have been coming to Canada from Jamaica for 20 years to work on this fruit farm. The main reason I started coming was to help my family back home. I have three children and three grandchildren and I talk to them almost every day. At home, we have a small farm growing bananas, coconuts, plantains and breadfruit. My wife looks after it when I’m here. We sell some and eat some. The work here is hard work but it is good and it has given me a lot of experience.
Ricardo: It was an easy decision to follow my dad to Canada five years ago and I’ve been coming here ever since. At home, I used to work as a municipal police officer but now I am here eight months of the year. I have tried just about every job around here and I like the variety in the work. We were worried that we might not get here this year because the border was closed and that caused a delay. They finally sent a charter flight to Jamaica to pick us all up. Even now, everyone on this farm is taking many precautions for COVID. It’s important that we all take it really seriously.
Prince: I don’t think that people realize that all apples are picked by hand. Apples bruise so easily so you’ve got to be careful with them all. I’d like people to know how hard we work to produce food for Canadians. One day a lady stopped by where we were working to thank us. That felt good.
Pieces, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Trinidad & Tobago
“My nickname is Pieces. I don’t know where I got it except that there were four Anthonys working on this farm one summer and so we needed nicknames to keep each other straight and it has stuck.
I’ve been coming here for 20 years from Trinidad & Tobago. At first, I thought it was a good way to earn some bread but I like it here and I’ve never stopped coming. It’s a good place to work. Normally I come in April but this year, it was the 6th of July before I got here – and then I had to spend 14 days inside for quarantine. That was enough to make a man a little bit crazy. Back home, I’ve got three kids – twin girls and a boy – and nine grandchildren. I call home twice a week."
Baker, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica, work in an Ontario apple orchard
We may be far from home, but we still cook real Jamaican food while we’re here. We have someone that comes by with Jamaican spices for us, so we can cook big dishes for each other. The best thing to make is curry chicken. Canadians should really eat more curry chicken. But not just any type of curry, you have to choose Jamaican curry seasoning – that has the best flavour. It’s also important to pick the right mangos for your curry. When cooking with mangos, you don’t want the juicy ones. Those ones are too sweet, no good for cooking. For cooking, you want to look for the harder ones and steam those down. That’s how you get it to taste right. When cooking here, it`s just like cooking for my family back home.
Percy, Seasonal Agricultural Worker working in an Ontario apple orchard
I’ve been coming to Canada to work for 30 years. It’s nice to work here. When I come here to work, the money can go home and buy things. It helps feed my family, build a house, and then when I go back home, it’s like a holiday. I come here to work for seven months, then I’m back home five months, then back here again.
I’ve got three kids, they’re 28, 30 and 31. When you’re here, you get to know everyone so they’re like a family too.
Kishore, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Trinidad and Tobago
I grew up in Trinidad, where my parents worked in agriculture. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but my dad was a sugar cane farmer, and my family had a small garden. When I was younger, I worked with both my parents in the sugar cane, but sugar cane didn’t last long. The industry closed down by the time I was 23, and after that, we had to look for other avenues to make a living.
That’s when I applied to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. My first year was challenging, but I made it through. Now when I come, I can recognize certain things and enjoy working in the garden and with all the vegetables. I’ve been coming for three years now, from the end of May until the end of October. When I return, I really enjoy my time in Canada and always look forward to coming back.
Tackesha, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica, working on a fruit farm
This is my fourth year working on this peach farm and my seventh year coming to Canada from Jamaica. I met my husband Dwayne working on here. He’s also a Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica. Back home, he did a bit of farming and a bit of construction work like plumbing, tiling and carpentry. What attracted me to him? He’s very humble and caring. He’s also a God-fearing man who loves and respects his family. We started dating in July, 2019 and were married on January 4, 2021. It was a beautiful wedding.
I’m originally from St. Mary Parish but now we live in the Portland Parish on the north/east part of the country. It’s nice that we can work on this farm together. For fun, I like to play dominoes or go on picnics to the river.
Jeremiah, fruit orchard employee and Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica
In Jamaica, I’m known as an All Rounder. I’m in construction. I can build houses and do furniture too. I can even make cupboards for you for your kitchen. I grew up in a rural area. My mom was a tobacco farmer. We also grew yams and potatoes and things like that.
I started coming to Canada in 2001. When it came to the financial crisis, you just have to deal with it. You’ll do whatever it takes to survive. My children are 30 and 23. I talk to them every day.
On this farm we grow grapes, peaches, cherries and apricots. We start with pruning when we come in the winter and then after pruning, tie the grapes on the wires. These grapes are going to be harvested in October or November. I like to eat them all but my favourite is the apricots. Maybe if I say that, my boss will stop me from picking them!
It was cold when I started coming but it was nothing to worry about. The deal with it is that you know you’re coming to a different country. You’ve got to be prepared for whatever there is. They say you should live each day as if it’s your last. You’ve got to be happy when you rise and see the sun in the morning. I appreciate each day for whatever it is and whatever might come.
I like to play dominoes and listen to music. My favourite music? I have so many and am confused about that right now. I like any one where I listen and I gain wisdom from that song. Any one of them can teach you something.
Artemio (Timmy), Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working on a potato farm
I come from Mexico where I live about 12 hours north of Mexico City. I’ve been coming to this farm, only this farm, for 21 years.
I have two children – my son is 15 and my daughter 9. I call them every day. In the first years, it was really difficult to be away from them, but now it’s normal.
I learned about the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program from a friend. I like everything about the work. It’s a good farm. I mostly work in the potato packing building but work all over the farm.
In Mexico, there’s no jobs but here, I earn money and can help my family more. In Mexico, my dad was a farmer. We grew sugar cane.
Antonio (Tony), Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working on a vegetable farm
I’ve been coming to Canada for 34 years as a Seasonal Agricultural Worker – 30 years on this farm. We grow potatoes, broccoli, cilantro, onions and other things. I like everything. It’s all good.
I come here to raise money to support my family. It’s difficult to find jobs in Mexico. I have five children. I talk to them every night.
When I go home in the fall, I enjoy staying home and spending time with my family. I also like to play soccer.
Carlos, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working on a watermelon farm
For 20 years, I’ve been coming to this squash and watermelon farm from Veracruz, Mexico. Working here means more comforts for my family. It helps with school for my children and food and our house and everything like that. In Mexico, there is not much work.
We have a small farm in Mexico that I work on with my father and brother. We grow coffee and sell it to a small factory. In my country, we grow watermelons and I so understand the watermelon and how they grow.
I have three boys and one girl, ages 22 to 14. I talk to them three times each week.
Alberto, Seasonal Agriculture Worker from Mexico, working on a watermelon farm
I come from Mexico – about two hours from Mexico City - and have been working in Canada for 24 years. I’ve been on this watermelon farm for 20 years. I help with the irrigation. Before harvest, we check the watermelons, check to see that they’re ripe and not hollow inside. I like the work here. I come here for the money, for my family. It’s good. Back home, I have three children. I talk to my wife every day. I miss her.
Jaime, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working on a potato farm
I come from Chiapas, Mexico. It’s near the Guatemalan border. I’ve been coming to this same farm in Ontario for seven years through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker program.
I was having problems finding a job and wasn’t making much money at home so my wife and I talked about me coming here. We have three daughters. Our twins are 22 and our youngest is 10. I talk to them every day. It’s hard. I miss them but it’s OK because the money I make here supports them. My wife also runs a small store selling clothes and shoes.
Here, I work in the field and help package potatoes. When I’m home, I love fishing and playing a little soccer and baseball.
George, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica, working on an Ontario apple orchard
I’m George and I’ve been coming from Jamaica for 22 years. I’ve always been working on this same farm.
Here, I drive the trucks, prune trees and pick apples. Back home, I grow vegetables like cabbage and tomatoes and raise some goats.
We still have that small farm. My wife Olga runs it when I’m here. We also have two kids and two grand kids. We talk every morning and every evening. She’s a very nice woman. We’re good partners. She’s always looked after the farm and kids when I worked here.
When I’m not working, I like to listen to music. Bob Marley’s my favourite.
Baldeo, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Trinidad and Tobago, working on a vegetable farm
My name is Baldeo and I’ve been coming to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago for 21 years. I’ve been on this vegetable farm for about 12 years. I arrive the first week of April and leave the first week of December.
I had some friends from Trinidad working in the farm program. I had done all types of agricultural work back home and I wanted the opportunity to travel and a way of upgrading myself. When I was back in school, my teacher would say “try and uplift yourself and here I am still.”
I do a little bit of everything. At different times of the year, we have different jobs – planting, picking stones, harvesting, driving equipment. I really love my job.
What do I like about Canada? From the places I’ve been, I like everything. The people are nice. The agriculture is great. I like it because I get to learn more stuff – new things, new horizons. I get to try different equipment and new technology.
When I’m home, I work six days a week for a guy who raises honey bees. I’ve been working for him since I was young. I work with the bees and help with the construction of hives. I like sports and I really love fishing.
Eduardo (Pina), Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working on a vegetable farm
I live close to Toluca, about 45 minutes from Mexico City. My family started to grow and I needed more help and more support for them. That’s why I came here – it provides a little more money for everything and everyone is happier now.
It is hard to leave my four children to come here but I like it here. We make good food. I really like making a nice field of vegetables.
Salvadore, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working on a watermelon farm
My name is Salvadore and I’ve been coming to Canada for 20 years. I like the work. I like Canada too. Growing watermelon is hard work. Today, we’re hoeing the fields for the weeds. I think we’ll start picking melons in about three days. When I’m finished working here for the year, I go home to Mexico and my family – my brothers and everyone are there.
In Canada, in October when I’m working here, it’s too cold! And then I go home to Mexico where it’s always hot! It’s nice to be home then. When I was young, every Sunday I’d play football (soccer). Sometimes the guys here play soccer. Of the 12 of us, nine or ten play soccer.
María Gonzales, Temporary Foreign Worker from Mexico
My name is María Gonzales and I’ve been coming to Canada from Mexico since 2001. I always had the idea in Mexico to come and look for new opportunities and when I heard about the program, I became really excited to come and try it. It was very difficult at first because 20 years ago, this program wasn’t intended for women – only men. When we were accepted, it was a triumph because only two or three of us were accepted.
I’ve been working at this greenhouse since 2012. I started as a vegetable picker and then I moved to packaging.
For my family and I think for all the families here, they are proud of us because it’s so hard to get into this program. My family is proud that I am here and because I’m here, their lives are more stable in Mexico.
Here, we form another family but the heart always stays in Mexico. The family that I leave behind is big. I think about them every day – my mom, my son, my daughter and everyone. They need me there but they also need my job here.
For fun, I like to do shopping first and then outings. I like going to the lake (Lake Erie).
Julio, Temporary Foreign Worker from Guatamala, Nature Fresh Farms
My name is Julio Polanco. I am from Guatemala. I came in December 2015 to this greenhouse called Nature Fresh through a foundation in my community. In Guatemala, there is very little work, it is very scarce and sometimes when there is work it is poorly paid. In Guatemala I have done a lot of different jobs, from a car battery workshop, pig farm, in the fields working with tomatoes, a rose greenhouse, packaging beans, peas, lettuce and in construction. I have worked as security guard, too.
My wife used to say to me, "I want to work, I want to help you also with work, so you do not have to travel anymore". But because I am working here, my wife has been able to go back to school. After three years of studying, she is now a nurse. I am so proud of her, of myself and of my daughter who is 7. My wife now earns more and we are able to send my daughter to a good school where she will receive a good education which will help her when she grows up.
I am very grateful – first to God and then to Nature Fresh. Thanks to the work that I have here, I have a better life. I feel good. I feel happy. I feel that it is a very good company and I am very grateful.
I like to go fishing, go biking and play soccer but I do not play anymore because 2 years ago I had a fracture. I like to read and listen to music.
Alexander, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico
I’ve been coming to Canada for six seasons. I decided to come here because it is an extra option for work. In our country there is a lot of unemployment and salaries are bad. Over there, there is not enough money to get a house and to pay for your children’s education. To have a better life, more than anything, that is why I come here. I have a wife and a five year old son who has just started school. I talk to them every day and they are my reason to exist. In my spare time, I talk to my family and that is my motivation.
I feel happy here in Canada. It is a little difficult because we are away from our family but it is necessary to work and have a stable economy, everything is all right.
On this vegetable farm, we do a little bit of everything. We work with forklifts; we work in the field and we also make boxes. Sometimes they even send us to perform construction. A little bit of everything.
Jorge Mario, Temporary Foreign Worker from Guatamala, Nature Fresh Farms
I came here for the first time in 2012. I had heard a lot about this program. I met a friend and we talked about the program. He told me that he wasn’t going to travel anymore and if I wanted the opportunity, he would give it to me. He brought me to the office and there, I had to talk about why I wanted to travel. Before I started my family, I worked in agriculture. After I got married, I worked in construction.
For our family, the main reason for me to come here was because my son (now aged 15) had been born with special needs and it was a very big expense. I could no longer cover the expenses for his medical exams and needs. We now have five children – ages 18 to 3. Two daughters and three sons.
At home, we have a shop that my wife runs. She spends her time there. It is a small shop for everyday things. Back in our country, we just earn enough money for food and to live day by day. By coming here, we are able to make it – like buying a piece of land, buying a house and other things so that my family can be better.
I really appreciate being here, in this place, although at first it was difficult because one is not used to leaving one’s family for a long time. I feel good because they treat me well. We all get along very well and that’s the important thing.
Fernando, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico, working at DC Farms
My name is Fernando. I come from Mexico and I am part of the SWAP program, which is the Agricultural Temporary Workers Program. I have been part of this program since 2015 so this is my sixth year here in Canada and my fourth at this greenhouse.
My role here in this greenhouse is to do plant care work, packaging and everything else that has to do with growing and producing a clean, healthy product for customers. It is part of my day-to-day work to maintain a healthy plant. The owners of the farm depend on this but we as workers also depend on there being a good crop too.
One of the main reasons I am here is because of my family. I have three children and my wife. This job helps me be able to provide them with a better way of life and for my kids to study – which I didn’t have the opportunity to do. My eldest daughter is studying at university and it is thanks to the work that I do here that I can afford the costs involved with her degree. She’s happy because she knows she has a chance to finish her studies with me working here.
They miss me, I miss them, but they know I am okay and I know they are okay. Every day we have communication, which makes me feel a lot more reassured here and be able to perform my job.
This is also a family farm. It feels like being part of the family. We are not just a worker or only an employee. We are family. They look after us and they take care of us.
We do our work with pride, with care, and we come here to do things right. We are not just workers. We are people who come to give our best to this country and to help our economy, and help Canada’s economy. This is what most of us come to do, to work and bring the best of ourselves.
Livian, Seasonal Agricultural Worker on an Ontario apple orchard
I didn’t hear anything for a long time and finally gave up and went back to doing construction work. Then I got the call to do an interview. And then they called me to come.
Our kids were small at the time. I talked to my wife, Sherene, who encouraged me to give it a try and here I am after 22 years. She is an amazing woman. She absolutely supported me so I put all my effort in because I didn’t want to let them down. She is the backbone of our family. I talk to her every day.
Leaving them that first year was so hard. I didn’t know where I was going or what the job would be all about. But I was told that if I could work, this was a good place for me. I had a plan, stuck to it and it worked.
I’m Livian and I’m from Kingston, Jamaica. This is my 22nd season coming to Canada. One of my friends had been coming to Canada to work. He told me he was going to take a break and asked if I wanted a chance to go. I was doing carpentry work at the time and, at first, to be honest, I said no but Tony kept asking and I finally did the application.
This program helped us put all four of our sons through school. If I were back home, I could never have done that. The oldest is an engineer in welding. The second one teaches in the army. The third is teaching English in Japan. The last is doing journalism at college. I’m very proud of them.
I’m just so comfortable here now. I never believed I’d be so comfortable in this job and in Canada. My bosses are like my dad and my mom. We’re all just like a family here.
Livian, Seasonal Agricultural Worker on an Ontario apple orchard
Jaime, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico
Coming to Canada to work within the program meant for me the realization of many dreams that I saw would be very difficult in Mexico. Like building my house – which is now finished. I have two children in college which also generates heavy expenses in Mexico. It is a great financial piece of mind. My children’s dream is to become professionals and mine is to have economic freedom as the years go by.
I also have a beautiful 8-yr-old daughter and my wife back home. I talk to them every day. They are waiting for me to come home with eagerness. The goodbye in the spring is the hardest. I come for approximately 234 days and every day is important. I do a job here that I like and that makes my life
easier. It is harvesting time now and the days go by very fast.
I use my free time to talk with my family through WhatsApp, by video calls. I talk to them every day and constantly for any food recipes that I want to cook and I do not know how. They help me and motivate me. That is actually my biggest hobby, talking to them.
What I like most about Canada is its people. They are honest people. I see a lot of human warmth in them. I have worked in another country, but people here seem sincere to me. When people in Canada smile at you, it is a sincere smile. You can see the affection in their eyes. Mainly that, I would say the weather is a bit drastic for us, but you learn to like the winter. Above all it is the people, the warmth you feel here. You feel at home.
Jaime, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Mexico
Ryan, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Trinidad and Tobago
I’ve been coming to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago for about six years. My job entails whatever’s required of me on this vegetable farm. Packing, harvesting – the full works.
I knew of others who had come to Canada to work and they would come back home and build their homes and purchase nicer vehicles and maintain their families better and I thought I’d take that try. I didn’t get through the first time I applied but I got through the second time. My first job was working for eight months on a farm in Alberta.
2020 was complicated due to Covid. First, we had problems getting here. The Trinidad government was not allowing us to leave. And then when it was time to go back home, they wouldn’t allow us to return. By the time we would have been able to get home, the growing season was about to begin again here so we decided to stay all winter. It wasn’t as cold as some people told us it would be. Some people had described winter as this big monster but it passed by OK. It was a nice experience. That’s my second time experiencing snow. My first time was in Alberta.
My son Camden was born on the 26th of November last year and I was in Canada when he was born. This year, I’m hoping to get back home before he turns one year old. I’m really looking forward to that and to playing with that little guy.
Ryan, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Trinidad and Tobago
Nicholas, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica, working at E-Z Grow
I’m Nicholas. I’ve been coming to Canada from Jamaica for the last nine years. I’ve been working for E-Z Grow for five years. They grow strawberry plants. I come some years in March and some years in April.
I never knew anything about strawberries before so since I started here, I’ve learned a lot.
I also think – no I know – that I’m working for one of the best families in the program. I’m lucky to be working here. I love them and I know they love us. I love coming here and working in Canada.
A friend of mine back in Jamaica introduced me to this seasonal worker program. I said I wanted to give it a try. The first year that I came, I remember thinking that I wanted to go back home the next day. I had never been away from my family so long. But as the time passes, I’ve gotten used to it. Back home are my wife, my 12 year old son and my sister. My mom lives in the States. I talk to my family every day.
A friend here introduced me to basketball. I started watching the game and thought oh, I love the Raptors and I love to watch them play. I haven’t been to a game yet – I only watch them on television. When I get back home and they are playing, I follow them from Jamaica too.
For fun, I like to play soccer. Before the pandemic, we used to have a soccer competition with some of the other farms. We never won the competition – we lost in the semifinals two years. Hopefully, if the pandemic goes away, we can play in it again. But here on the farm, our boss made a field for us to play on.