By Dana Shultz for DietsInReview.com | photo from food chain website
But one topic that has yet to be widely discussed concerning food is the issue of farm worker exploitation.
People want their food, but they don’t often think about the people who pick that food and bring it to their plates. And more importantly, whether they’re were working under just conditions.
A newly-formed organization and movement called Food Chain has produced a film to shed light on this important issue: That there are currently more than 10,000 slaves in the fields in the United States, and they’re all being treated inhumanely.
Food Chain is taking it a step further, calling their treatment abject slavery. One man in the film reported that people are being shackled up at night, being killed when trying to escape, and even being bought and sold for cash on the side of the road like slaves. Farm workers also typically experience abuse, including verbal threats and physical violence.
The organization points out that everyone makes money at the top – specifically grocery stores, which can gross more than $70 billion a year; but that the average farm worker makes between $40 to $50 a day for up to 14 hours of work. And what’s even more concerning is grocery stores have the power to change these conditions, though most do nothing.
The farm workers are primarily Latino, and feel they do the work Americans don’t want to do and are highly under-appreciated – and underpaid – for it. Food Chain is helping them fight for raised wages – in some cases even just one penny per pound of food they gather – to end the exploitation and improve working conditions. This small increase can mean $40 or $50 more a day for workers; and up to $80 for tomato pickers, who typically receive higher wages.
Food Chain is pushing for better rights and treatment for farm workers, and recognition that farm slavery is unacceptable. They want farm workers to be recognized as human beings, and treated as such. And we think that’s a worthy cause.
To become a part of the movement, visit foodchainfilm.com for more information. You can also donate to their Kickstarter to help raise funds for the important work they’re doing nationwide.