We don’t often see mainstream media outlets report on the often invisible farm workers that hold up so much of American agriculture– let alone do in depth and humanizing interviews with them. So, in case you missed it, we wanted to bring your attention to a series created by Dan Charles for NPR’s The Salt in which Charles interviews the largely-Hispanic migrant immigrant workers on sweet potato, apple, orange, strawberry, and blueberry farms. Even for those of us who have worked on smaller-scale farms, a look into the lives of workers on these gigantic combines is both fascinating and critical. We can’t recommend a listen more highly.
You can read Charles’s summary of his findings here and follow his links to listen to each piece individually.
The Hand That Feeds trailer from Robin Blotnick, a film on reforming the food system by organizing from the ground up for fair wages, fair working conditions, and collective bargaining rights. This is a rare story in which workers, with tenacity beyond imagination, are actually able to defeat the giant. It is also a good reminder that food justice work in the United Staes should be inherently intertwined with immigration reform.
Read our blog post from yesterday for more info! Today the walkers are walking from Garrison to Wappingers Falls.
Walking the 200 miles from Long Island to Albany, protesters stopped at City Hall in New York City last Saturday chanting si se puede. According to Democracy Now!, the protesters are walking in support of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act (more about this from the ACLU), asking that farm workers have the right to collective bargaining, an optional day off every week, and overtime pay– rights people in virtually every other industry in the US take for granted. The walkers are led by Rural and Migrant Minstry, a NY-based nonprofit that supports rural and migrant communities in the state.
“I would like to say, each time you are eating, or each time you have something in your hands that you are going to eat, remember us, who do not have the rights that other workers have. And if you can, support us. We are going to be marching for another week and a few days. If you see us, it would be good if you support us by walking with us, maybe a couple of hours, one hour, for a day if you can. That would be very good.”
–Heriberto Gonzalez, former farm worker, and fellow at Rural & Migrant Ministry
Greenhorns! Let us join them where we can! They will be marching until May 31 and you can find their schedule, route, and updates here.
On the one hand, it is great to see how far we’ve come. And on the other, it is pretty difficult to accept how far we haven’t. Pay close attention at 19:00 minutes to what one farm employer has to say about working conditions, wages, and his workers dispositions.
Here’s some good evidence about how NAFTA undermines farmers, not only domestically, but also in the countries where we ” free trade”
This article from The Nation focuses on pigs, who eat corn.
For nearly two decades, Smithfield has used NAFTA and the forces it unleashed to become the world’s largest packer and processor of hogs and pork. But the conditions in Veracruz that helped Smithfield make high profits plunged thousands of rural residents into poverty. Tens of thousands left Mexico, many eventually helping Smithfield’s bottom line once again by working for low wages on its US meatpacking lines. “The free trade agreement was the cause of our problems,” Ceja says.
ATTN:: Open Meeting: Northeast Gathering on Domestic Fair Trade
Friday August 14, 2015 9:00 am-12:30pm
Campus Center 903 UMASS, Amherst
This Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Summer Conference Free Meeting, sponsored by The Domestic Fair Trade Committee of NOFA’s Interstate Council’s (IC) Policy Committee, invites activists from the Northeast Region who are engaged in projects and organizing efforts that come under the broad heading of Domestic Fair Trade to come together to share their work and ideas and to discuss possible collaboration for the immediate future.
Who should come? Farm workers, farmers, food system workers, processors, manufacturers, worker organizers, farmer organizers, cooperative organizers, visionaries, and allies.
Consider attending if your work (paid or volunteer) involves fairer wages, safer work, Continue reading
Baja labor leaders learned tactics from their efforts in U.S.
Before Fidel Sanchez led protest marches this month against growers in Baja California, he fought for higher wages from tomato farmers in Florida.
Justino Herrera, who dons an Army fatigue jacket during labor talks, once led a work stoppage against an abusive labor contractor in Oregon.
Eloy Fernandez said he draws from his union organizing experience in California to keep angry protesters in San Quintin from resorting to violence.
“People get rowdy, but we don’t want that,” Fernandez, who helps run a makeshift camp of striking laborers outside a government building, said Thursday. “We just want to show our presence. To show the government that we are raising our voices. That’s how we did it over there.” Click HERE to read more!