In Haiti, Labour and Agriculture Day takes place every May 1. It’s a day to celebrate and be thankful for everything farmers do to keep fresh food available. It’s sometimes difficult to remember how fortunate we are to have access to crops, and we feel disconnected from the roots of our food when we see it all packaged up in supermarkets. On Labour and Agriculture Day, we take the time to thank the farmers who feed us.
History of Labour and Agriculture Day
Since we became intelligent enough to cultivate food, farming and agriculture have played an essential role in keeping humanity alive. The act of farming can be traced back to the Neolithic Era. As far as we know, the Sumerians, who had a farming labor force, were the first to actively engage in larger-scale farming. They also built irrigation systems to grow crops and followed a strict harvesting schedule throughout the year.
Labour and Agriculture Day, a holiday that honors workers’ accomplishments, is observed annually in the Republic of Haiti. In other countries, the holiday is known as Labor Day or May Day. Its origins can be traced back to the eight-hour day movement, which advocated for eight hours of work, eight hours of recreation, and eight hours of rest.
In the 1800s, many workers were forced to work for over 12 hours a day, seven days a week, just to make a living, leading to the formation of labor unions that organized strikes to improve working conditions. Many movements became violent, including the Haymarket affair on May 4, 1886. It started as a peaceful labor protest rally advocating for the eight-hour workday near Chicago’s Haymarket Square but quickly developed into a riot when a bomb was thrown at police. At least seven police officers and four civilians were killed, and many others were injured. The Haymarket affair is widely regarded as the origin of Labor Day.
Labour and Agriculture Day timeline
Many workers struggle through 12-hour workdays just to stay afloat.
The Haymarket Affair devolves into a violent altercation.
The first International Congress of Socialist Parties designates May 1 as Workers Day of International Unity and Solidarity.
Labor and Agriculture Day is celebrated for the first time.
Labour and Agriculture Day FAQs
What makes agriculture difficult in Haiti?
In recent years, drought and floods within the country have made the jobs of farmers harder.
What is the most common job in Haiti?
Two-thirds of the Haitian labor force is employed by the agriculture industry, the country’s largest sector.
What kind of farming is practiced in Haiti?
Guava, cassava, banana, plantain, sugar cane, maize, sweet potato, mango, yam, and rice are the top crops grown in Haiti.
Labour and Agriculture Day Activities
Support local farmers
Supporting farmers and other farm workers is an excellent way to commemorate this day. You could either fundraise for or invest in the cause.
Visit a farm
If you’ve never visited a farm, this holiday is an excellent opportunity to do it for the first time! Many have stores and even cafés where you can get a cup of tea or buy local products.
Gather some fresh vegetables
Make sure to grab some vegetables from the supermarket today. Every purchase you make rewards farmers for their efforts.
5 Facts About Farming That You Didn’t Know
It’s a huge industry
Agriculture is said to be the world’s largest labor employer.
Farmworkers are often young children
The agriculture industry employs kids as early as six years old.
It takes up lots of space
More than 50% of the world’s habitable land is used for farming.
It brings more than just food
Soybean oil is used to make crayons.
There’s a ton of waste
About 30% of grown food is never consumed and goes to waste.
Why We Love Labour and Agriculture Day
It supports farmers
Farmers produce enough food to feed entire countries and even export it to others. Ironically, they have a very meager supply of food left over at the end of the month because they have the lowest annual family income.
Farming is vital to our survival
We don’t know what we’d be eating right now if it weren’t for the men and women who chose this field. The world owes a debt of gratitude to all the farmers out there.
Agriculture contributes to the Haitian economy
Farmers annually contribute billions of dollars to the fruit and vegetable industry, both on and off the farm. This day emphasizes their importance to the nation’s economic stability.
Labour and Agriculture Day dates