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Agriculture still drives much of Georgia’s economy, but workers on one of the state’s newest farms harvest energy, not peaches or peanuts. A former cotton farm in Social Circle, about forty-five miles east of Atlanta, has been converted to Simon Solar, one of the largest solar farms in the United States. Steve Ivey, whose family has owned the land since the 1930s, has covered 150 of its 250 acres with panels that can produce approximately thirty megawatts of energy—or enough to power 4,130 homes for a month. Georgia Power is buying the electricity generated from the farm under a twenty-year power purchase agreement.
The Mexicans—thirty-two of them—wait for the pickup truck. They are dressed, almost to a man, in dirty jeans, boots, long sleeves, and baseball caps. Some wear bandannas to shield their necks and ears from legions of gnats. The rising late-summer sun is starting to cut through the morning mist that clings to the orchards and fallow pastures of Peach County like a thin coat of fuzz.
Cesar Chavez’s birthday is coming up March 31, and perhaps you haven’t thought of a proper way to mark the occasion. Do not panic. Just open a new Word file, fire up the Wikipedia, and start writing.