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Published on March 29, 2024
First Lady Shapiro and Ag Secretary Redding Honor Farmworkers in Pennsylvania During National Awareness WeekSource: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

In the spirit of National Farmworker Awareness Week, First Lady Lori Shapiro and Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding tipped their hats to the backbone of our dinner tables - the farmworkers. The pair made their rounds at Quality Greenhouses, shaking hands and shining a spotlight on the folks who get their hands dirty to keep our bellies full.

It's no secret farmworkers are the unsung heroes of the food supply chain, yet their struggles often go unnoticed. While celebrating National Farmworker Awareness Week, Shapiro and Redding aimed to change that, honoring those who labor tirelessly behind the scenes. According to an article by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, agriculture punches in a hefty $132.5 billion yearly for the state's economy - a feat not possible without a seasoned workforce well-versed in the rigors of farm life.

Secretary Redding praised the farmworkers' expertise as vital during his visit, saying, "Their knowledge and dedication are linchpins in realizing our aspirations for a resilient, sustainable, and prosperous agriculture industry." Redding has been seen stomping through fields and orchards state-wide, emphasizing the importance of seasoned workers in a flourishing agricultural sector.

Meanwhile, at Quality Greenhouses, where pansies and hellebores herald the spring rush, the message was clear: seasonal hands are crucial. "In addition to our knowledgeable full-time staff, finding and hiring seasonal employees is critical for Quality's ability to have beautiful plants for sale," disclosed Brett Lebo, the operation's big cheese, noting the importance of these workers in efficient delivery to clients.

Amidst the shrubberies and foliage, Pennsylvania's First Lady Shapiro underscored the farmworkers' critical role, laying it on thick for their tireless efforts to keep farms bountiful and families fed with fresh food. "The Commonwealth is proud to recognize the invaluable contributions of agriculture farmworkers," she declared, according to the state's ag department's dispatch.