The conditions that farmworkers face in the everyday course of trying to do their jobs are grueling, often dangerous, and sometimes even abusive. It’s the age-old “if a tree falls in the forest” riddle: if these problems are invisible to most Americans, do they really exist? The answer is yes, of course they do. And I am proud to have worked on a 65-page report about farmworker employment issues that documents them.
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We recently gave a small donation to help the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) send 30 farmers and farm advocates to Capitol Hill. The group was being gathered to defend sustainable agriculture programs from drastic cuts as Congress worked toward a budget deal. Farmers met with multiple congressional leaders and leaders of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the press.
Politics makes strange bedfellows and even stranger dinner plates. Amidst much controversy, the Farm Bill reached the Senate floor on Monday and created some unusual alliances. As the San Francisco Chronicle put it, “Seldom in Washington do such coalitions develop that unite the Bush White House and the group Environmental Defense on one side, and on the other, Senate Democrats and Republicans who have set aside their ideological hostilities to preserve and expand crop subsidies for a minority of wealthy farmers.” Michael Pollan’s op-ed in the New York Times, Weed It and Reap, does a great job explaining the state of the current bill and how “some nutritious crumbs” have been added “to ensure that reform-minded legislators will hold their noses and support it.” A little money for food stamps and “specialty crops” and we’re supposed to forget that the […]