Ever wonder who picks the apples we purchase in our grocery stories or at the various orchard farms stands that dot our region? More often than not migrant workers - immigrant migrant workers - pick them, people whose lives can be experienced in the brilliant award-winning documentary “After I Pick the Fruit,” that will be screened at the Keene Valley Public Library on Monday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.
Farming is a huge business in New York State. Just farm commodity production alone is a $4.4 billion dollar industry that employs tens of thousands of people. Critical to its vitality and growth is access to people willing to pick the fruit and vegetables at harvest time, a demanding task few Americans are willing to do. Immigration reform, currently frozen in Congress, is necessary not only to protect this industry, but, more importantly, address the brutal system and conditions of the immigrant workers on which much of it rests.
“After I Pick the Fruit,” a documentary by Nancy Ghertner follows the lives of five immigrant farmworker women over a ten-year period as they labor in the apple orchards and fields of rural western New York, migrate seasonally to Florida, raise their families, and try to hide from the Bush-era immigration raids that were conducted in response to 9/11. Filmed in New York, Florida, and Mexico, this intimate, bittersweet, feature-length film illuminates a community that is nearly invisible to most Americans, and will change the way you look at our national ‘immigration problem.
The screening will be followed by a discussion with Barrie Gewanter, Director of the CNY Chapter of the New York Liberties Union, and local spokesperson and contact point for the ACLU throughout the Central New York Region, and Martha Swan, director of John Brown Lives!. The discussion will be moderated by Naj Wikoff, a columnist for the Lake Placid News.
The screening is free, though donations will be accepted.