This conversation lasted over 3 hours, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to learn more about this community of “travelers” and how they meet life.
*I have only used the first initial of names here in the interest of privacy*.
Some of these men have been traveling for 15 years finding short-term piece work jobs like picking, tree planting, festivals, movies, and more. They typically will live out of their vehicles, tents, or short-term rentals.
15 years packs a whole lot of experience. These fabulous folks are masters of their craft. They love the freedom that comes with being a traveler. They are working to live the adventure and creativity they crave. They thrive on short-term projects and places.
This is a lifestyle for them that, from what G says – for better or for worse, is what works best for them. Sure, they have tried other options, like G says – property management, but this? This is what works.
Until, sometimes, it doesn’t. And why not? When does it become unstainable?
Piece work can come with lower wages without benefits or sometimes even standardized labour guidelines.
Farm workers love the freedom of camping, that’s not the issue. It can become a challenge when some farms or communities don’t have proper amenities like clean showers, toilets, or cooking facilities for the team to easily access.
Thankfully, new initiatives like Secrest Hill Agriculture Worker’s Campsite are in play to find solutions to this challenge. The province is recognizing the need for safe and secure accommodations for seasonal workers where basic necessities like showers and toilets are essential. However, these spots are not yet a staple for Canadian workers in all farming communities. Workers are staying on-site which may or may not have basic amenities included.
Melissa’s farm is smaller so doesn’t utilize the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for large staffing requirements and therefore does not receive funding for accommodations. Her team camps in the orchard and has access to all basic necessities, including laundry, which according to this team of travelers, is very difficult to access in Cawston.