Maggie Helms, Cosecha Intern, 2022
Everyone has to eat. No matter who you are or what you’re good at, there’s one thing that unites us all - food. Through the various SAF programs I’ve participated in over the years, I’ve learned so much about the hands that pick that food. Not just about the hands that harvest, but the people, and their struggles, their joy, their families, and their unique, individual strengths. These countless stories and connections have given me a deeper appreciation of the individual within the collective - and this past year was one of many personal and professional transitions for myself, as an individual, trying to find my place within the collective sphere of social justice work.
Right at the beginning of Cosecha, I made the decision to transition out of direct-service social justice work. I knew that it was the right choice for my mental health, but that was about all I knew. I didn’t know what I would do next. I didn’t know how to participate in social justice movements without being on the front lines. I didn’t know how I could ever be an advocate for others if direct services weren't my 9-5. I didn’t even know if I really belonged in the Cosecha cohort or not.
But with every cohort meeting, I gained more and more perspective. We were able to unpack various prescribed ideas around what it means to be a part of a movement, and this helped me develop a more holistic view of the various roles individuals can play within a greater cause. The unwavering support and guidance that the Cosecha program provided me, allowed me to explore new avenues of participation in social justice movements and discover where my strengths can be useful, all the while finding the balance of taking care of myself at the same time.
Everyone has to eat. Some people cook. Some people stick to bringing the plates or the cups. Some people set the table or stay late to wash the dishes. All of these things are necessary for a successful meal. And in the continuous fight for farmworker justice, and social justice as a whole, there is a place for everyone at the table.