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Amazon farms new warehouse

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Amazon fulfillment center in San Bernardino is one of many fulfillment centers in the Inland Empire on Oct. 9, 2020. (Stephen Day | Viewpoints)
By Elaina Kleven

The Amazon facility in Ontario is one of the largest in the world, and it’s one of many mega factories in the area.

Amy’s Farm is down the street from this 4.1 million square foot concrete jungle. One of the few sustainable farms left in Southern California. 

“My mom started (Amy’s Farm) 35 years ago, and we’ve been here the whole time,” farm employee Haley Owen said. “My entire life has been this farm.”

This family-run business offers fresh produce grown with zero pesticides and tours of the farm to educate the public on what regenerative farming looks like.

“When the pandemic broke out, all of the warehouses started to move in, and we’ll have to close,” said Christian Owen, employee and relative of Randy Bekendam.

Bekendam, also known as Farmer Randy, the manager of the farm, said the problems started during the pandemic in early 2020.

“There are always individuals on the world stage who are opportunists,” said Bekendam. “When a worldwide catastrophe like (COVID-19) happens, their first thought is not how can I use my resources and influence to help. It’s how can I use my resources and influence to benefit myself and exploit.”

Bekendam discussed the mass rise of consumerism and how numerous people get hooked on these services.

“I remember reading in Times Magazine (that Steve Jobs) could picture a world where (people) can’t function unless they have (an Apple product),” Bekendam said. “Jeff Bezos realized he could piggyback on this technology and get people hooked on pushing buttons.” 

The pandemic only made this worse, with the rise of online delivery services due to quarantine.

“The only way you can get it delivered to your doorstep is once you push the buttons,” Bekendam said. “It has to come from a warehouse, so it passes everything. All the mom-and-pop small entities are being put out of business by Amazon.”

“I just choose to live simply so I don’t need anything Amazon is selling,” he said. All I need is food, shelter and clothes to live.”

The farm received its eviction letter about a year ago. By Aug. 31, Bekendam and his family that lives and works on the farm will be forced to move elsewhere.

According to Bekendam, Amy’s Farm has been bought out and will be turned into one of the factories in Ontario before the end of 2023.

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