Fruit farmers doing well in the Okanagan

Fruit farmers doing well in the Okanagan

Allegations against RAMA sparks concern

The group of Okanagan Valley activists strive to support “temporary” migrant farmworkers

Allegations that Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture has been storming local farms have left members confused and concerned about the ‘false information’ circulating about their intentions.

The BC Fruit Grower’s Association released a newsletter to its membership last week, noting two incidents of threatening or interfering with grower operations have occurred in recent weeks. RAMA is alleged to be behind the incidents according to general manager Glen Lucas of BCFGA.

Related:Okanagan fruit farmers still on alert

“We don’t understand what motivates the radical activist groups,” said Glen Lucas, General Manager of BCFGA. “We are mainly just advising our members, but we are concerned about this group causing problems with their activities.”

In two newsletters released in May the BCFGA warned Okanagan fruit farmers of increasing “radical activist activity” in the valley. However Robyn Bunn with RAMA does not understand where the allegations come from, after checking with members who report not having visited any workers on farms this season.

“None of our RAMA members would impersonate anybody because we don’t feel like that would be good for building trust amongst workers. Why would we go on farm and lie to them about who we are? That doesn’t make any sense to us,” Bunn said.

The group of activists claim they strive to support “temporary” migrant farmworkers in the Okanagan Valley, and offer support systems including rides to appointments, English classes, social events and teach them about their rights while in Canada.

“We are not going on farms to disrupt any information, intent on shutting down any farm operations, absolutely not. We are there to support workers in whatever they need,” said Bunn.

RAMA members do not believe that they are trespassing on property when the visit the “temporary” workers because they are invited by workers that are paying rent to visit and access their services. The group uses the word Radical in their name not as an aggressive term but steer towards the definition of “to grasp from the root, since we are all volunteers, we are a grassroots organization and we are working with farm workers. We don’t see the word radical as being something aggressive.”

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