Team Leader at Jealous Fruits in Kelowna, Canada
I worked at Jealous Fruits farms during my first Co-op work term as a Cherry Picking Team leader. I led a group of around 30 Mexican pickers in several different orchards for long 12-hour shifts that began at 11 pm and ended around 11 am. I ensured that all of the pickers on my team were safe and felt comfortable, and ensured that the cherries picked were of the highest quality. Thus, I had to learn how to identify various varieties of cherries and what it meant for a cherry to be picked at the highest quality. This Co-Op experience means a lot to me as I was able to build on my leadership skills and build friendships with a lot of the pickers that come from a completely different world to mine. In addition, I was able to learn the processes behind large-scale farming and the difficulties they face to remain sustainable and eco-friendly while providing fruit to families all over the world. Soil sciences also came to play as I learned that the soil can get ‘tired’ when the same kind of fruit or vegetable is harvested repetitively, and thus different vitamins and minerals are needed to boost the health of the soil. Others should consider joining Co-Op as a way to start applying what they’ve learned in classes to real-life problems and scenarios. At least for me, the Co-op experience really solidified the content that I learned in class.