First, an exciting correction. On Friday we posted that we saw 633% growth of our weekly active users last week when compared with a month prior. Well, the week wasn’t over yet, and it ended up being 1005% growth! An exciting milestone with which to wrap up our WeFunder campaign--it closes this Wednesday at 8:59 PST.
Much of this growth is driven by the adoption of our communication platform by a leading brand in the fresh produce industry, and we’re excited to build on this success with the other growers that have expressed interest.
I was a little nervous about the idea of hanging out alone at a Mexican border crossing at 3am. But the opportunity to connect with 1000+ farm workers to spread the word about Ganaz--and my curiosity--won me over.
The little town of San Luis, Arizona was already buzzing when I rolled into town in my rental car just past 3am. White school buses were lined up in every available parking lot. Farm labor contractors and workers stood around talking, waiting for more workers to cross. I talked to one representative of a well-known produce brand who said,
“You might think there are a lot of workers here, but if you were to climb up on these buses, you’ll see there’s only 8 or 10 workers in the huge bus. It is so hard for us as a company to compete because we follow the law. We pay workers their full paycheck every week. We don’t do “la tira,” which is a cash kickback to the supervisors and contractors that recruit the people, because it comes right out of the worker’s pay. So we struggle to get access to people to work our fields and salad processing facility.”
Yuma is the source of most of the winter salad greens, and most farmworkers working in Yuma live just across the border in Mexico. Though they are US residents or US citizens, they live in Mexico to be close to family and for a lower cost of living. And they have, perhaps, the most challenging commute of anyone I’ve met.
Yuma farmworkers typically wake up just after midnight and arrive at the border to wait in long lines between 1-4am. They might get a nap in the farm labor contractor’s bus on the way to the fields, and then spend 8-10 hours weeding and harvesting vegetables. Then it’s back home to catch 4-5 hours of sleep before they start the journey over again.
This early morning left a big impression on me for two reasons:
Read more about farmworker’s daily border commute here:
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