The Secret Lives of America's Migrant Farmers
by Michael Durbin
It’s early June at Camp Chestnut Ridge in Efland, North Carolina. Towering pines outside the dining hall are still dripping after a night of hard rain. I take a seat at a breakfast table where most of the college students are quiet, still shaking off sleep. But one of them is bright-eyed.
“What brings you here?” Eric Britton asks me.
I explain I’m researching a story about Student Action with Farmworkers, the non-profit that assembled these thirty students from schools across the country.
SAF has sent more than 700 college students — they call themselves Safistas — into migrant farmworker camps. The interns are here for a week of orientation about the estimated one million, mostly undocumented farmworkers in the U.S. Not all of what they learn comes from SAF instructors, and not all of it is about farmworking. Eric turns to another Safista at the table.
“Are there any good bars in Columbia?”