Low Cost Strawberries


By: Susan Bea Good


This morning I purchased my first flat of strawberries for the season, direct from the farm. Twenty years ago my teenaged sons picked berries at this same farm. They hated the low pay and the demeaning treatment from the owner. Many times the farmer tried to pay less than the agreed upon wage. All that abuse is said to be necessary to keep prices low at harvest. “Undocumented” pickers from Mexico are by far the most efficient for this type of business. Less paperwork, no haggling over wages, no vacation pay, sick leave, insurance benefits…nothing except cheap labor.

This Thursday my friend Maria is losing the father of her three children. He’s being deported to Mexico. Surprised? Me too. I thought our government didn’t deport people. But he is leaving this week. Maria can say goodbye if she can get to the holding facility during visiting hours. I plan to drive her there, but knowing Maria, she probably has the wrong address, and since she is illiterate we may waste hours searching for the correct building, only to miss visiting hours.

Maria’s husband has worked in Michigan orchards for fifteen years, since they came to this country illegally. His employers have benefited financially from Jose’s seven days a week commitment to the farm. Jose has benefited too, with undocumented cash compensation for his long hours. It’s going to be emotionally hard on Maria and her children when he is is no longer here. It won’t be financially hard though, because our national welfare programs will compensate them for at least as much as what Jose was bringing home.

Both political parties are pressing to keep illegal workers like Jose here in the country, to keep wages low, and strawberries affordable. But how much do the welfare benefits of thousands of “Marias” add up to?…and the cost of her medical care, and the children’s education? How expensive are those strawberries getting now? I really don’t think this nation can afford any more low cost berries!

“Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.” (Proverbs 22:16/ESV)

The purpose of this blog is to encourage Christ-followers to see God’s Big Picture and be a part of it. Adonai Eloheinu!

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