Photoshoots can be hectic at the best of times. When I was requested to do a shoot in an orchard with 125 Mexicans who don’t speak English, I’ll admit that I was concerned about productivity. My bad, because these guys and gals could work circles around me any day and their smiles speak a thousand languages.
I’m thrilled to be working with WorkSafe BC and the Mexican Consulate on this project. Currently, over 3,000 Mexican workers are immigrating to British Columbia to work in agriculture. Leaving their homes and families for up to eight months, they often have no concept of the region, living conditions, work equipment and safety protocols in BC. Working in cooperation with the Mexican Consulate, WorkSafe BC is building a safety training program to familiarize Mexican workers with agriculture in BC before they arrive. The next few months could get a little dirty as this project will take me through orchards, vineyards, greenhouses and gardens throughout the Okanagan.
A big thanks to Coral Beach Farms and Sohal Orchards Ltd. in Lake Country, BC for accommodating these first photo shoots. Coral Beach is a large scale cherry producer, exporting premium (I’ll vouch for that) hand-picked cherries world wide. They currently employ up to 600 Mexican workers in their orchards. Sohal Orchards grows apples, blueberries and cherries, and has been employing Mexican workers for 6 years.