Vermonters cherish our iconic farmlands with red barns and the dairy products that emerge from them. They also often tend to consider border and immigration problems to be set along the Mexican border. Yet the Vermont Reads 2023 series that we are embarking on tells different, difficult stories.
The Most Costly Journey, Stories of Migrant Farmworkers in Vermont is a collection of short stories told in graphic novel format that detail the hard lives of migrant workers here in Vermont. The library has scores of copies from a Vermont Humanities Council grant and begins its series with a talk led by James Sturm, Center for Cartoon Studies co-founder, graphic novelist, and Quechee Library patron. On Thursday, Feb. 16 at 9:30 am, James will be talking with Hartford High School students. We invite all to participate in hybrid fashion by coming to the Quechee Library where we will join for the discussion. Zoom links for home use will be available as well upon request. Drop by and pick up a copy of the book!
Other events include: an exhibit of art panels from the book at the Wilder Club and Library through the month of February. On Monday, March 6 at 5 pm, Teresa M. Mares will talk about her book, Life on the Other Border, Farmworkers and Food Justice in Vermont. Mares has written a startling book about the Latinx migrant farmworkers who provide a great deal of the labor for Vermont’s dairy industry. As she explains the deep fear that cloaks their lives and the frequent injustices they endure from employers and neighbors, she details the ‘food insecurity’ that pervades their lives, stemming from lack of access to groceries, including foods familiar to them, and, most ironically, even to dairy products. Mares will be speaking virtually from the University of Vermont where she is associate professor of anthropology. She will also discuss groups, including Migrant Justice and the Huertas Project, who are working to improve the lives of the farmworkers. Continue reading