What is the “Harvest of Justice”?
It’s an NFWM annual educational program that provides resources including programs & presentations, videos, social media content, and more so that you can help your faith community learn about issues affecting farm workers. Harvest of Justice is an opportunity to raise consciousness, commitment & contributions.
The Harvest of Justice Season falls between Labor Day and World Food Day (Sept. 6 – Oct. 16 2021). Labor Day in America focuses on our country’s labor movement and the many ways that US workers have given their toil to make our country prosper. Farm workers are among them. It is a fitting beginning to the Harvest of Justice season. And we end with World Food Day, an annual recognition of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations founding in 1945. Primarily observed by organizations concerned with food security, we recognize that many farm workers are themselves in need of food despite the fact that they pick fruits and vegetables for the rest of us.
Harvest of Justice 2021: Farm Workers and Food Justice
The overwhelming irony of the US agricultural system is that the agricultural workers face environmental, political, economic, and structural barriers that prevent them from being able to sustainably feed their families in affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate ways. In the U.S., farm workers uphold the agricultural industry while simultaneously being 400 times more likely to experience food insecurity than the general public. They work long, arduous hours under the most punishing of conditions, and are literally unable to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The people who spend their days picking fruits and vegetables struggle to feed their own families. Numerous studies across the United States have documented the staggering rates of hunger and food insecurity that plague farm worker communities. One study of farm workers in Georgia found that 63% of migrant and seasonal workers surveyed struggled to feed themselves and their families. Farm workers often face countless barriers when trying to get food, including low wages, poor or non-existent public transportation, and a lack of culturally-appropriate food.
To put it simply,
- As people deserving of dignity and respect, farm workers should have accessible, safe, healthy, and culturally appropriate food.
- As workers, farm workers must be able to eat food that gives them adequate strength and health so they can pick and process food as an essential part of the agricultural supply chain.
- Many farm workers do not have access to the food they grow, pick, and process.
Each program contains background info, action ideas, reflection questions, and more.
Farm Workers and Food: The primary program covers the basics of food security and farm workers, and how we as consumers can affect change through our choices and actions at all levels.
Food Justice: Food justice is the next step after talking about food security. While immediate needs are crucial, generally speaking, the concept of food security has largely sidestepped a structural analysis of hunger. In this program, participants will learn the difference between food security and food justice, and what food justice can look like for farm workers.
Food Sovereignty: Moving beyond food security and food justice, food sovereignty means solidarity, not competition, and building a fairer world from the bottom up. Learn about the sovereignty movement: not a simple set of technical solutions or a formula which can be applied – instead a “process in action” – an invitation to citizens to exercise our capacity to organize ourselves and improve our conditions and societies together.
Food Certification Programs: You’re probably heard about fair-trade products: coffee, tea, chocolate, and more. But what about food grown here in the U.S. How can we, as consumers, make sure that the food we buy isn’t exploiting farm workers NFWM currently partners with 4 food certification programs: each is independent of NFWM and of each other, but all serve a similar purpose: to bring together growers, farm workers, packers, distributors, retailers, and consumers to transform agriculture at various levels and improve the lives and working conditions of farm workers. See a special video on these food certification programs here: https://vimeo.com/589654672
Self-Directed Solutions: Learn about models of self-directed solutions, including community gardens, food cooperatives, and CSAs, and see real-world examples of these models in action.
Faith Groups & Community Solutions: Many farm workers (and others) do not have enough to eat. Government programs (such as SNAP, free/reduced price school lunches, etc.), faith communities, and community charity agencies and programs can help fill the hunger gap. Learn about 4 of the most common types of programs: gleaning, food banks, food pantries, and food drives, and how you can get involved at the local level.
Farm Workers: From Food Justice to Food Sovereignty
Social Media Toolkit:
Hashtags: #nfwm #foodjustice #farmworkers #farmworkersandfood #thankafarmworker #foodsecurity #foodinsecurity #foodsovereignty #harvestofjustice
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Other Harvest of Justice resources:
The impacts of climate change are being felt all over the U.S. through higher temperatures, increase in wildfires, prolonged droughts, frequent flooding and more frequent and stronger hurricanes. Farm workers – men, women, children, documented, undocumented, migrant, resident – are on the front lines of the brunt of climate change. As climate change forces significant agricultural adaptations and farmers continue to feel pressure to make shortcuts concerning labor, farm workers will feel the first and most severe impacts on their working and living conditions.
A disturbing 80% of farm worker women surveyed in the California Central Valley in 2010 reported that they had experienced sexual harassment at work. Sexual harassment and violence are experienced by both men and women in the fields, but women face this in disproportionately higher numbers. We want to celebrate farm worker women and women’s organizations that are fighting back. Women are affirming their rights, speaking out, working with allies to change laws, and using consumer actions to address corporate power that acts as a silent sanction to harassment.
The National Farm Worker Ministry’s Harvest of Justice 2018 focuses on some of the immigration issues specific to farm workers.