A day at the California farm where the workers will get the pay they deserve

Phil McGraths family has farmed in California for five generations. Now, as the nation mandatories overtime paid under laborers, “hes one” of the few owners committed to the new law: Well know we tried to do the right thing

Ninety times from downtown Los Angeles, flowers of all shapes and sizes develop next to the historic US highway 101. Year round the spots of mixed colorings fill a small portion of the 300 -acre McGrath family farm in Camarillo, which includes sprawling fields of berries, tomatoes and other organic plants.

Javier Carranza is a specialist when it is necessary to chopping and trimming vegetation with a hand scythe between the clay rows. He has reaped flowers and organic produce at McGraths for 19 years, with “his fathers” and two brothers. They all live on the property in a simple arrangement reminiscent of old mustard yellowish barracks on local military bases.

Carranza was specially happy the coming week, but not because the flowers were in full bloom. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on Monday that will construct California the first nation to mandate overtime paid under farm workers who log more than eight hours a day.

More possibilities, you are familiar with? Its muy bueno , told Carranza.

A record of the McGraths in south California. Photograph: Giovanni Moujaes

Phil McGrath, a fifth-generation California farmer, is one of the nine brothers and sisters who own the land tended by Carranza. McGrath controls “the farmers ” and supported the overtime bill an extremely unpopular posture among his peers in the agriculture industry.

He was also the only field farm proprietor to show up for the United Farmworkers of Americas celebration party in Oxnard, where he was given a standing ovation from workers across Ventura County and southern California.

Im making a lot of friends doing this, but Im likewise pissing off farming pals Ive known for years, McGrath told. Oh well.

As McGrath managed duties on the business side, Carranza began his day in the flower domains with his occasional weekend sidekick and seven-year-old nephew, Alejandro.


His first assignment was to cut caspia flowers from the bush and bundle the flowers densely. Alejandro then came by and placed the packets in a pail in the back of the field cart.

He plucked the statice flowers from the floor instead of chopping them, requiring Carranza to invariably deflect over. He and Alejandro repeated the round of bundling and putting the flowers in buckets.

10 am

After an hour in the baking sunshine, Carranza took a smash from the fields and tended to the swine. He determined the white birds free to pilot around and peck at meat outside their coop, while the chickens and rabbits all get fed in their enclosures.

They come back in five minutes. Watch! promised Carranza. Within seconds, the birds constructed their space back on to their perches.

Carranza will continue to be feed “the worlds biggest” swine, including 2 potbellied animals and a couple of goats. McGrath came by to check on supplyings and reflected on the transformations in farming strategy over the past few decades.

The North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership have constructed it really hard to balance wages and rate of goods. How are you able compete with countries that barely pay their workers anything? McGrath asked as he watched Carranza and Alejandro in the distance.

I want to do whats best for these guys, but we have to raise the price of goods and people have to be OK with it.

Americans spend only a small portion of each dollar on stocking the kitchen. Less than 10% of consumption expenditures in the US are devoted to at-home meat, according to the USDA in comparison, expenditures in Kenya can approach 50%. This is partially driving in increased competition from international agriculture and lower convenience store costs in recent years.

Were all guilty of buying the dollar heads of state of lettuce at the supermarket, but we need to think more about how that adversely affects the local famers and our ability to keep costs down and wages up, told McGrath.

11 am

Carranza spent over an hour determining sunflowers in the field appropriate for corsages. He picked simply the most significant flowers.

They are very, very big. Muy bonita , he told, as he strolled back to the field cart with a few dozen over his shoulder.

Jessica, who works in McGraths store, grouped the flowers by rate, ranging from$ 5- $10.

Around this time, McGrath got an update from his crew running the farmers marketplace in Santa Barbara. Sales were slower than expected and they would be bringing several packets back to the farm for Sundays market in Hollywood.

Because of the unplanned surplus in flowers, Carranza no longer required to take more from the field. He get off job early. Jessica stood to assist clients until store closing.

12pm until late

Before McGrath left to attend to administrative tasks in its term of office, he made sure to stress a major element of his job doctrine: family.

First and foremost, I want to make sure my family is happy no matter what happens with “the farmers “. And that includes these guys and all the other marvelous people I have on this squad, McGrath told. Who knows what will happen on the land in the next few years, but well know we tried to do the right thing.

Phil McGrath. I want to make sure my family is happy no matter what. And that includes these guys and all the marvelous people I have on this squad. Photograph: Giovanni Moujaes

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