Harvesting Freedom

Harvesting Freedom

The Life of a Migrant Worker in Canada

By Gabriel Allahdua, with Edward Dunsworth


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In this singular firsthand account, a former migrant worker reveals a disturbing system of exploitation at the heart of Canada’s farm labour system.

When Gabriel Allahdua applied to the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program in Canada, he thought he would be leaving his home in St. Lucia to work in a country with a sterling human rights reputation and commitment to multiculturalism. Instead, breakneck quotas and a culture of fear dominated his four years in a mega-greenhouse in Ontario. This deeply personal memoir takes readers behind the scenes to see what life is really like for the people who produce Canada’s food.

Now, as a leading activist in the migrant justice movement in Canada, Gabriel is fighting back against the Canadian government to demand rights and respect for temporary foreign labourers. Harvesting Freedom shows Canada’s place in the long history of slavery, colonialism, and inequality that has linked the Caribbean to the wider world for half a millennium—but also the tireless determination of Caribbean people to fight for their freedom.


I Am Many Things
Preface by Edward Dunsworth
Part One. A Child of History
Chapter 1. Welcome to Canada
Chapter 2. Beginnings
Chapter 3. Growing Up
Chapter 4. Education
Chapter 5. Teaching and Learning
Chapter 6. Guyana
Chapter 7. Work, Family, and Community
Chapter 8. Working the Land
Chapter 9. The Hurricane
Chapter 10. Joining the Farm Worker Program
Part Two. A Migrant Farm Worker
Chapter 11. Working in the Greenhouse
Chapter 12. More on Working in the Greenhouse
Chapter 13. Bunkhouse Life
Chapter 14. Family Separation
Chapter 15. Back and Forth
Chapter 16. Literacy and Power
Chapter 17. Coping and Finding Community
Chapter 18. Racism and Discrimination
Chapter 19. A Voice for the Voiceless
Part Three. Status for All
Chapter 20. The Twenty Injustices of Canada
Chapter 21. Leaving the Program
Chapter 22. Justicia
Chapter 23. Speaking Truth to Power
Chapter 24. The Caravan
Chapter 25. New Beginnings and Future Harvests
I Am Many Things (reprise)
Epilogue. COVID-19 and Migrant Farm Workers