My name is Michael Ferguson, I am from Jamaica and I have been coming here for 15 years. I had heard about the program (Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program) through friends and people in my area and I thought it could help make my life better. I was very excited and I was very happy when I got accepted.
My first year, I came in April. I kept looking at the trees thinking there had been a fire or something. I realised that the trees are just brown at that time of year and there was still so much snow you could hardly see the ground. There were a lot of things to get used to like the cold and how to dress for it. Now I come in March every year and leave in the middle to end of October. I am hoping if I get the chance, I will keep doing this job until I retire. When we are 65, we are eligible to retire and get a pension.
Here we take care of the grapes; we prune them, grow them and then we harvest them eventually. Working on the farm here made sense for me because I love growing things. I have a farm at home with two of my brothers. Some of my boys are helping run the farm now. We grow yams and sell them at the market or they are shipped all over.
Back home I am usually very busy but in the evenings, especially on Sunday evenings, I sit down with my brothers and friends and we play dominos. I have 10 kids at home. Some of them are young and some of them are grown. High school and college are expensive but this job has let me put my kids through school. When I am here, the kids are always calling and checking in on me. You know the kids, they love me and I love them.
I think Canadians should know that it is an important job that we do. Food is everything to the world, if you don’t grow food then people can’t live.