Heidi Saxby: “I am not a number: Wellbeing and commodification of seasonal agricultural workers”

In Students by Bethan Kelly

  • Newcastle University
  • Environmental Planning
  • H.Saxby1@newcastle.ac.uk

This ethnographic case study explored the wellbeing of seasonal workers from eastern Europe who are employed on Yorkshire farms.  The food and farming industry is heavily dependent on such workers but for a number of reasons, including Brexit it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain them. Workers who repeatedly come back to the same farm year after year are especially valued by farmers for their accumulated expertise and knowledge, and understanding what contributes to workers’ wellbeing during their farm employment may be helpful in making their work more satisfying whilst also informing industry practises which aid recruitment and retainment.

The research is supported by the Association of Labour Providers (ALP), who encourage good practice in labour provision to the UK agricultural sector. ALP is also the lead partner in the Stronger Together Campaign which provides a network of resources to support culturally diverse communities.

I am now in the third year of my PhD, am writing up my thesis and have presented preliminary findings to academic and industry audiences.

I am an active member of the Transatlantic Rural Research Network.