From The Sprawl: Working at the bottom of the food chain

Calgary’s The Sprawl highlights the reality of agricultural migrant workers in Alberta.

Read the full article at

by Brianna Sharpe | The Sprawl


This past Thanksgiving Sunday, Miguel Perez walked onto a stage two-and-a-half hours outside Calgary at a lunch for Mexican migrant farm workers.


The group was singing karaoke as an ice-breaker, and Perez (whose name has been changed) chose “Que si me duele tu adiós,” a sad Mexican song about lost love. With his emotions close to the surface, he crooned in Spanish to around 50 workers and volunteers: “What if your goodbye hurts, and I was silent?”


In the crowd was Karla Vazquez, secretary and outreach director for the Calgary Association of Mexicans, the volunteer group that organized the lunch.


After singing, Perez told Vazquez that his brother had died in Mexico two weeks before, but he wasn’t able to attend the funeral. They were quite close and Miguel’s mental health was suffering.


Workers are told at orientation in Mexico that they are only allowed to leave the farm when a spouse, parent or child dies—not a sibling. And although they can request special permission, not many workers can afford to quarantine for 14 days when they return to Canada.


“They’re so alone,” said Vazquez, referring to the migrant workers she’s been visiting weekly since June. “They show you pictures of the children they’re missing, the weddings they’re missing. They’re away from everything so that [Canadians] can have a pumpkin.”

Read the full article at

Press Forward works to ensure people in Canada have strong independent and community-focused journalism. We unify, elevate and advocate for media organizations in Canada to strengthen innovation, inclusivity and diversity in media across the country.

Join the conversation


Looking for quality, local independent journalism in your inbox? Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive news highlights from our members across Canada, updates on the media landscape and more.

Apply to become a member

Check out our Membership Criteria.


Members have access to exclusive membership events and programming where you can connect with media across Canada and discuss topics like funding, community journalism, and the state of the industry.