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Tabler Farm to offer April 30 Labor-Movement workshop

ISSUED: 11 April 2024
MEDIA CONTACT: Cecelia Mason

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Agricultural Innovation Center at Tabler Farm will be hosting Cynthia Flores, owner of Labor-Movement, for a free workshop on Tuesday, April 30, from 4-6 p.m. where farmers can learn how to do their work safely and efficiently.

Labor-Movement’s goal is for farmers, fishermen, and industrial athletes help them move well, improve efficiency, and have a long career.

Madison Hale, Tabler Farm manager, said she got the idea to invite Flores to speak by following Labor-Movement on social media.

“I saw through Labor-Movement’s social media [that Flores] was saying that if your head is bent at 60 degrees your head now weighs 60 pounds. So, if you’re in that position for a long time it could cause neck injuries.”

Hale saw a good opportunity to invite Flores to lead a workshop at Tabler Farm because of how much labor is involved with farming that can cause injury.

“We try to offer workshops here that can be useful to local farmers in the area,” Hale said. “I thought this would be a good focal area to help anyone who would be interested in learning how to work better to help prevent injury and just to make your farm run more effectively.”

Madison Hale, farm manager, works in the Tabler Farm greenhouse.
Madison Hale, farm manager, works in the greenhouse.

Tabler is currently the only farm in West Virginia offering this program. The workshop is designed for farmers and is free for attendees but, more specifically, Hale said “it’s geared toward particular vegetable production where you’re doing small-scale things by hand and using your body.”

Hale is a big proponent of wellness and taking care of your body by being careful about how you move.

“That’s something that I really try to incorporate on the farm here at Tabler,” she said.

Hale can speak to how strenuous farming can be, especially when working in the same position for a long time — much of farming is repeated movement.

“Whenever I am training people, I will demonstrate different positions that they can stand in and squat in while doing tasks,” she said. “I always recommend that they rotate the position that they’re in. I have friends who got injuries from farming, so when I found Labor-Movement, I was excited.”

Hale said along with wellness, farmers really need to work in an efficient manner.

“You want you and your workers to be safe but also you want your farm to run efficiently,” she said. “So rather than carrying one tray of seedlings or toting a small amount of produce at a time, use a cart and pull six or eight trays at a time.”

“Farm culture largely holds a belief that farming is back-breaking work, and that injury is probably inevitable” Flores said.

In her 20-year farming career, Flores learned how important health and wellness is farmers. When she created Labor Movement, Flores used her experience both as a farmer and coach and strength athlete.

“Labor-Movement’s goal is to be a coach, educator, and resource for farmer movement health and wellness and self-advocacy, “she said.

Labor Movement offers the opportunity for farmers and farm workers to ask questions and practice movements.

“The hope is that attendees will learn tips about body mechanics and movement patterns specific for their physical needs that change throughout a day, season, and years” Flores said.

The workshop is partially funded through the Northeast Extension Risk Management Education (ERME) Center, and several other workshops are being offered to farmers and farm workers in the West Virginia. Maryland, and Washington, D.C. area.

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