The OLIP interns had the pleasure to welcome and congratulate Gabriel Allahdua for winning the 2023 Speaker’s Book Award for his book Harvesting Freedom: The Life of a Migrant Worker, published just last year.
We were interested in learning more about Gabriel’s experiences that led to him to write this book advocating for just food systems in Canada. Gabriel told us about his journey to Canada through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, his perspectives on the program and the work he has done since he exited the program to advocate the rights of workers in Temporary Foreign Worker programs. We were also interested in how the decision to write a book came about, which he attributed to the encouragement of Edward Dunsworth, his co-author. It was particularly striking to hear Gabriel reflect upon the connections between his journey as a migrant worker in Canada and the stories of how his ancestors came to St. Lucia.
We learned important lessons about the complicity of Canadians in oppressive systems, and about working toward change. We want to thank Gabriel for his candidness and vulnerability in chatting with us and answering our questions. We look forward to reading your book (well, those of us who haven’t already!)