By Colleen Closson and Sophie Katz
To provide healthcare that can truly meet vulnerable populations where they are, it’s good to know about the lifestyle of your population. For example, if a population tends to have high blood pressure, then you should analyze their abilities to access healthy food options and places to exercise.
To understand the farm workers and their occupation so that we can better serve them, we decided to go on a farm tour provided by Ellenton Health Clinic. This was a tour of the crops that are grown in and around Moultrie. We learned how to pick corn, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and all types of peppers, from sweet to spicy. It was every bit as challenging as one would expect, and more so. For example, cucumbers have prickly spines when initially picked, which must be gingerly removed to avoid poking your hand (and you inevitably do). It’s incredibly hot, and we only stepped out of the air-conditioned van to pick produce for 10 minutes at a time. You can’t wear sunglasses because otherwise you can’t see the produce, so sunlight (and along with it, dangerous UV rays) shone right into our eyes. The rows between vegetables are narrow and often overgrown so you must carefully look out for any animals, like snakes, while also keeping your eyes open for produce ripe enough to pick.
What we learned through this process is how easy it is to go to the grocery store and not think twice about where the food that you buy is coming from. Nothing comes out of thin air, and the process of the vegetables being picked in the fields to being cooked is quite laborious. As we move forward, we will certainly remember the incredibly hardworking hands that make it possible for us to eat healthily. As Dr. Wold frequently says, “If there’s food on your table, thank a farm worker.”