Organic Week Interviews: Health & Safety – Bernadette Antoniou

Organic Week Interviews: Health & Safety – Bernadette Antoniou

Q: Why does it matter to you that you work on an organic farm?

A: A few years ago, while I was still pretty new to the world of organics, we had mandatory company-wide government mandated health and safety training.  An independent trainer came in to talk to us, and what stood out for me was when he brought out a very large, heavy looking binder – he held it up and dropped it on the table with a bang.  He told us that the information inside was about the many chemicals used in conventional farming, and the information and correct safe handling information about each.  Dangerous to touch, dangerous to inhale, dangerous to be around daily more or less.  He impressed upon all of us that day how lucky we all are to not have to worry about all of that.  Especially the field workers who were in the room with me.

That moment stuck with me for quite a while.  I started wondering about workers on other farms.  What about those years when new workers come?  Do they get training on safe handling of chemicals?  What if there is a language barrier and they don’t understand?  What about long-term exposure and accumulative effects?  For the workers especially, but for everyone when we eat the food.

I think this trainer’s words carried a little more weight because he was from outside of here, and had visited many, many farms.  He really got me thinking that day.

Working on an organic farm has come to mean a lot to me for many reasons – it’s something I have written about before.  I still feel lucky to be here!




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