the irresistible fleet of bicycles


Leave a comment

ice detained migrant farmer activists: thousands responded.

Though those who live farther away from the muddy melting snow of Southern New England, may not have caught wind of the migrant rights struggle that has been playing out between farms and courthouses around the region, it’s worth everyone’s attention.

Since the ICE arrest and detention of farmworkers and Migrant Justice leaders Jose Enrique “Kike” Balcazar Sanchez and Zully Palacios Rodriguez on March 16, hundreds of people have gathered around Vermont and in Boston to demand the young activists release. Migrant Justice is a Vermont-based organization that organizes three regional migrant worker communities to advocate for human rights and economic justice. Especially considering some of the anecdotes in this excellent piece by LatinoUSA.org on their case, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which immigration officials are not intentionally targeting human rights leaders for deportation.

Both are in their early twenties, neither with any prior arrests, and they were on their way home from the Migrant Justice center when they were stopped. Balcazar, as LatinoUSA reports, “is an active community organizer in Vermont, and served on Vermont attorney general T.J. Donovan’s Immigrant Task Force, which was created in January as a response to President Trump’s immigration executive orders.”

Continue reading


Leave a comment

NPR’s the salt puts spotlight on industrial ag workers

sweetpotato-7_custom-794b5007cad9f65f1139890654c12a7657e4ac6a-s700-c85

Photo by Dan Charles/NPR

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.


Leave a comment

new york farm workers rally and walk for bargaining rights and decent working conditions

200miles

Enter a caption ruralmigrantministry.org

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.


Leave a comment

food chain: a new documentary on farm labor conditions

There is more interest in food now than ever before, yet, no one is talking about the people who pick our food, the hundreds of thousands of hard working individuals to whom we are all connected through our purchases at supermarkets, farmers’ markets and restaurants.

Food Chains exposes the abuses rampant in farm labor in the United States and reveals the forces behind that exploitation through the narrative of an intrepid group of tomato pickers in Florida, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who are battling the 4 trillion dollar global supermarket industry – and winning!

“We need to realize that our entire food system is controlled by a handful of companies. If large supermarket chains wanted to abolish GMO products, for example, they could do so in one swift motion. They have a stranglehold over the entire agribusiness system from farming on down. We need to pressure those retailers to return money to the system. In addition to their power to set prices, they need to set the conditions under which workers toil.”