Molina on Migrant Farmworkers – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Molina on Migrant Farmworkers

Director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs Alejandra Molina will be the final speaker at the Geneva Historical Society’s traveling exhibit, titled “Comin’ Up on the Season.” She will present “Farmworkers in Geneva: Issues and Misconceptions” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 543 South Main Street.

In her lecture, Molina will examine the stories of the farmworkers featured in “Comin’ Up on the Season” and look at how they compare to those of farmworkers in the Geneva area. Paying particular attention to the ways in which women have adapted and incorporated themselves into the community, she will speak about the important role farmworkers play in American food production, the misconceptions prevalent about their place here and the challenges they face as workers and immigrants.

Molina’s lecture is of even greater importance currently, with a summer full of global food shortages and record-high fuel prices have combined with concerns about border security, global climate change, land use and sustainability to get more Americans thinking about where their food comes from, how it got to their plates and at what cost. A big piece of this story is the people required to harvest fruit and vegetable crops, many of whom live in our own community.

“Until the late 1800s, most American farms used family and seasonal community labor to harvest crops,” the Historical Society explained. “By the early 20th century most crops were harvested by immigrants or African Americans moving ‘up on the season’ from Florida to Maine, performing planting and harvesting chores as they moved north. Many of these people eventually earned sufficient funds to settle down in one community, leave farm work and build better lives for their children. This is the foundation of Geneva’s Latino community today.”

Molina received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and her Ph.D. in Spanish American Colonial Literature at Cornell University. She has spent many years working on farmworker issues, particularly those involving Latino women.

This program is sponsored by the Samuel B. Williams Fund for Programming in the Humanities. “Comin’ Up on the Season” runs through Saturday, Sept. 27. For more information about this program or the exhibit call the Geneva Historical Society office at (315) 789-5151.