Positive Child Labor: Learning Business & Life Skills on a Farm (Video)


Image credit: The Perennial Plate

From demanding an end to child labor in cocoa farming, to iPhone apps that help you spot brands that use abusive child labor practices, we've seen plenty of initiatives that seek to end the exploitative use of under-age workers to cut costs and circumnavigate regulations. But it's easy to forget that a little hard work can be a very positive experience for young people—especially at a time when teens and young adults are struggling to find viable job experience.

So here's a neat video about one group of Oregon youth who learn valuable agricultural and business skills, and get paid to do so!

The Perennial Plate Episode 67: Kids at a Farm from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.

As with their previous shows on retiring cows in an alternative form of dairy farming, trapping and killing feral pigs, and farming with sheep dogs, this is yet another inspiring episode from Daniel and Mirra at The Perennial Plate.

What makes these shows so special, for me, is the space that they give those being filmed to be themselves on camera, and to truly be represented. This visit with the Food Works youth training and empowerment program is no exception. Much like the DIG (Durham Inner-City Gardeners) program I wrote about and volunteered with a few years back, this initiative is about much more than just teaching gardening. Youth receive payment for their labor, and learn valuable business and interpersonal skills in the process too. Many graduates of the program go on to receive college scholarships through the Janus Youth Program that founded Food Works.

It just goes to show. Kids should never be exploited. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be put to work.

More from the Perennial Plate
Why Should Eating Salad Make You "a Jerk"?
How to Become a Farmer, and Why Drought is Good (Video)
Off-Grid Farming in the Caves of Utah
Trapping and Killing Feral Pigs is Disturbing, But Is It Green?
Hunting and Eating Roadkill in Minnesota (Video)
A Gulf Fisherman Struggles for Economic Survival (Video)
Growing Oyster Mushrooms, and a Recipe for Vegetarian Terrine (Video)
When Cows Retire: An Alternative Approach to Dairy Farming (Video)

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