Meet the faces behind the Ontario produce on your plate! Each year thousands of migrant farm workers make their way to Ontario to work on fruit and vegetable farms around the province. While for many of them this experience is relatively new, some workers have been returning to Ontario farms for over 20 years! From trumpet players to carpenters, they all have a unique story to share. Click the profiles below to learn more about the women and men who play such an important role on our farms.
I have been coming to Canada for five years to work growing potatoes. Coming to Canada makes a huge difference for us. We would never have the opportunity in Mexico to make what we can here in eight months. It is nice to see my table at home full of food and to see my wife happy.
My name is Fermin Hernandez Lais. I have two sons, my oldest, Gerardo, is 27, and my younger son David is 20. I am so proud that Gerardo finished school this month for engineering and David has just finished school. I have worked here in Canada for 20 years and at this potato farm for the last five years.
My name is Humberto Castellano and I have been coming to Canada from Mexico for 12 years. I have worked here at this farm for seven years. Today my job is to bring in the fruit, check the fruit and also to help my co-workers pick. In Canada, I work on two farms. I come from a Christmas tree farm, where I work for two months.
I have been coming to Canada for twenty years since 2001 and I came here to this farm in 2005. It is a farm that I like because the work is very nice. When I arrived back then for work, I picked strawberries, cut asparagus, pruned blueberries, cut green beans and picked peas.
My name is Antonio Copalcua Vásquez and I am from Mexico. Here my job is to load and unload the trucks arriving. Fruit, vegetables, everything, I put them in refrigerators to keep them fresh and good. I have been in this program for 22 years and on this farm 13 seasons.
I have been here for six years. Here we harvest asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, green onions, peas and other things. When I am not here, I have work in Mexico. Everyone can have a job, but you do not earn enough money to be well there. So that is why we have to immigrate to this country. I live in a village in a village in the state of Michoacán.
My name is Nahum Vazquez Meneses. My job here is to harvest the raspberries and strawberries. It is my first year working here at this farm, but I have been in the agricultural workers program for 17 years. I have been in different regions of Canada including Manitoba, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario.
My name is Ermel Colli. I come from the state of Yucatán. I have been coming to Canada for two years to work. I came here to improve the life of my family. I have three children. One is studying accounting, another is in high school and the other is in elementary school in second grade. I had applied twice to be eligible for the farm worker program before I was accepted.
My name is Gerardo Gutiérrez Medina. I am from Mexico from the state of Morelos. Canada has given me the opportunity to come, I think about 19 or 20 years. I am the longest working employee here. I have seen a lot of changes since I started. At work we are happy if there is a good production, but sometimes God makes it too cold.
My name is Celso Alvarado Ibarra and I come from the state of Querétaro. I have been coming to Canada for four years and this is my first year on this farm. I have a seven-year-old baby and my wife is a nurse. I am very proud of my wife. Thanks to working here in Canada, our family has been able to get ahead. This work gives our family a better future.
My name is Esteban Solís. I come from the state of Durango and we come here to Canada to work. I have been coming to Canada for eight years. I came so my family can have a better life and for my children to get ahead. In Mexico, I work in the field in agriculture, planting corn, wheat, and oats.
My name is Mario Guzmán. I am from Mexico and I have been coming to Canada for 11 years and have worked here for nine. I decided to come to Canada to make some progress with the family; to be able to give our family what they need and to have opportunities that we did not have before. We have taken this opportunity for our family to get ahead.