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Labor of Love: Domestic Fair Trade Grows

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At Gathering Together Farm, in Philomath, Ore., owners Sally Brewer and John Eveland sit down with all their employees three times a week for an all-farm lunch. At the height of the growing season, Gathering Together Farm employs as many as 100 people, so Brewer and Eveland bring in employees on those days especially to cook. It's no small expense, but it's a way to ensure that the field crew gets face time with the irrigation crew, the office employees, and the farmers market crew.

"It's a huge meal, and it's part of the benefits package," says Rose Mahoney, who helps manage the farm. "It really has a family feeling."

The organic farm offers a community-supported agriculture (CSA) box, offers their produce at eight different farmers markets around Oregon, and they are known, says Mahoney, as a farm that treats its workers well. Brewer and Eveland have long prided themselves on respectful communication with all their employees; they also make extra produce available to take home - no small deal considering the fact that farmworkers can, ironically, rarely afford healthy food.


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