Harvest of Justice 2021: Farm Workers & 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.

Programs:

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 JusticeFood 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 SovereigntyMoving 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 – in that 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4jl-kWMwo0 

Self-Directed SolutionsLearn 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 luncreduced-priceaith 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.


Social Media Toolkit:

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Hashtags: #nfwm #foodjustice #farmworkers #farmworkersandfood #thankafarmworker #foodsecurity #foodinsecurity #foodsovereignty #harvestofjustice


Printables:

NFWM Partner Food Certification Label Reference Cards