farm worker standing in orchard

Meet Eddy, Seasonal Agricultural Worker from Jamaica

My name is Edward Gayle, but most people call me Eddy. I am from St Elizabeth, Jamaica, which some would call the bread basket of Jamaica. Most households in St Elizabeth would have a farm around them. It is natural to be involved in farming because we see our grandparents or our mother or father doing some form of cultivating food.

I sought this job to help my family; I have a steady job, security, and good pay to send home here.

Typically, on the farm, I would prepare for planting and plant and nourish the plants until they are ready to be harvested. Right now, a typical day would mainly be spent harvesting strawberries. We invest a lot in the berries, and that is one of the most amazing things when we pick them; all the hard work is paying off, seeing all these beautiful berries and these plants that you have worked hard on from preparation to planting being harvested.

It is a joy to get up and go to work. The welcome I get from my coworkers is part of the drive that helps me get up every morning. Just to meet my coworkers, all the different people from different countries. It is overwhelming. We work with people from Thailand here, and they all want to learn our language; everyone says good morning. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Back home, I have a wife, Chereen and two kids: a girl who is eight years old and a boy who is 14. It is always hard to leave your family for eight months to come work; you are not leaving them within driving distance; you have to take a plane and fly thousands of miles away. It’s always hard leaving, but it’s worth it; when you make that decision, you must consider the benefits. I usually don’t tell my family the date I am coming home. I like to surprise them; they anticipate I am coming home soon and getting excited. That’s the moment you look forward to, seeing the joy in your kids’ faces. They always try to do something extra special; they make all the meals I like, and the kids are excited to see what I bring back.