Farmworkers may be considered “essential,” but the undocumented workers who pick the nation’s food are excluded from the CARES Act.
Thanksgiving is a time of year when most people give thanks for their family and their friends, for having a job (if they are lucky to have one) and for many other things in their lives. I am hoping that this year, you also give thanks to the hands that feed us.
The Food Chain Workers Alliance is launching the first annual International Food Workers Week during this Thanksgiving week (November 18-24) to bring more awareness to the hands that feed us – from the Native Americans and African slaves of not so long ago, to the Asian and Latino immigrant farm workers from the middle of the last century, and especially the nearly 20 million people in the U.S. from all races, ethnicities and genders who today ensure that food gets from the farm to our plates.
Yes, you are reading that right. About 20 million people work in America’s food system.
If you skipped down below, you saw that Joann is the Executive Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of workers’ organizations, and Jill is Director of Business and Culinary Development of Coosemans Shipping of L.A., a specialty produce distribution company. So, you may be wondering – what are these two doing writing a blog post together?
We are co-chairs of the Good Food Procurement working group of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, an initiative of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Over the past year and a half, our diverse group – including labor organizations, businesses, non-profit groups, school food service officials, public health advocates, and many more – has developed the Good Food Purchasing Pledge. And the L.A. City Council is poised to adopt the pledge via the Good Food Purchasing and Procurement Motion, sponsored by Councilmember Paul Koretz,
When I arrived in this country, you conform to what is given. I came by myself. It’s very difficult living here without knowing anyone, not knowing where a store is, not having money to buy water or bread. When you find a job, if they offer you $50, you don’t have to think about it – you need this money, so you take it.
– Jose Juan Romero, restaurant worker
and former food-processing worker
If you’re like me, you probably try to watch what you eat, eat healthy, eat organic when possible, shop at the farmers’ market to support local family farmers… but have you thought about the workers who do the work to provide the food on your plate?
When I first became a vegetarian almost 20 years ago, I didn’t think about the workers. I made an ethical decision to change the way I ate,