The Golden Cage

Migrant Mexican farm workers began arriving on Vermont dairy farms almost seventeen years ago and continue to work here living hidden lives. Through intimate photographs and interviews, this exhibit strives to create a revealing portrait of dairy farmers and their Mexican employees and offer a glimpse into their interdependent lives—exploring who they are and what they hope for.

In 2008, there were an estimated two thousand migrant Mexican farm workers in Vermont helping to produce more than half of the state’s milk. In Addison County alone, there are about five hundred Mexican workers. They are primarily young men helping to sustain a working landscape while supporting their families in Southern Mexico. This important population has been in Vermont for almost seventeen years, yet remains mostly invisible despite contributing to communities.

The Golden Cage Project shares faces and voices of fifteen Addison County dairy farmers and migrant Mexican workers in a nonjudgmental and educational environment. The project’s goal is to provide a more human perspective on issues that are often politicized and overshadowed by law and policy.

Conceived by former Vermont Migrant Education Program tutor Chris Urban whose work teaching English brought him to farms around Addison County, the exhibit pairs photographs by Caleb Kenna with audio and text excerpts from interviews conducted by Chris Urban.