Jimadores (HEE-mah-doors) are the expert tenders of Mexico’s agave fields, and the breathing crux of Mexico’s agave spirits industry. They rise before the sun, setting out with long blades to reap the majestic agave that they and their ancestors have sown for generations. In one day, a single determined jimador might harvest fifteen thousand pounds of agave, shaving and halving each hundred-pound plant in about ninety seconds, and then loading them into trucks. It’s remarkably taxing labor, but you won’t hear a jimador complain— even though they have to harvest about one ton of agave to earn the average tip on a tequila cocktail.
These men and women display an extraordinary symbiosis with their plants, and entire global industries rest on their backs and blades. Most of the time, they weigh heavily. Despite their unparalleled expertise and work ethic, jimadores reap few benefits from the industries they support. The system of employment prevents them from unionizing, and opens them up to being trapped in cycles of exploitation. It’s extremely profitable for a few large foreign companies, but detrimental to Mexico’s most vulnerable rural communities and the most fervent contributors to its greatest cultural traditions. This detriment opens doors to unfathomable poverty and malnutrition. It forces these men and women to raise their children in the harshest of socioeconomic climates, far from progress and far from hope, and far, in this case, even from clean water— a quarter mile in this case, and many feet below the earth’s surface.
With your help, we’ll supply a solar-powered water pump to keep a Jalisco jimador community safely hydrated for years to come. We’ve been waiting for the opportunity to tap this well, and its ownership just changed hands, making this possible and sustainable. In the meantime, we expanded the community’s schoolhouse and their access to professional educators. Now we can provide sustainable access to clean water, and it’s an opportunity they cannot afford us to miss.