Blog: Farmworkers

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When I enter a new classroom or forum, I often ask, “How many people know where their food comes from?” Later, another question arises, “Each time you pick up a piece of produce at the store, do you consider the hands that picked that produce? Those that handled that piece of nutrition, and eventually passed it along to you?” Most students will answer no. I would have too, before I became a Bon Appétit fellow. In the United States today, about 40 percent of our produce is harvested by hand. The farmworkers who carry out this labor work in the most dangerous employment sector in the country, and do not enjoy the same protections that workers in all other sectors do. A child of just 12 years old can labor for eight hours in a scorching hot field, while they would never be […]

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For this year’s National Farmworker Awareness Week, Bon Appétit will be featuring a “Faces of Farmworkers” display in hundreds of cafés across the country and via social media, highlighting portraits and quotes gathered in the fields by Student Action with Farmworkers.

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As this year’s Farmworker Awareness Week approaches, hundreds of Bon Appétit cafés around the country are preparing to spread the word about how few pennies per pound farmworkers earn for commonly picked produce items, and 20 locations are hosting a screening of the documentary Food Chains.

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On Friday, the New York Times devoted front-page space to the amazing progress that our longtime partners the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has made toward fair treatment of farmworkers.

Proud as I am of Bon Appétit’s contribution to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ cause, I’ve long wanted to help in a more personal way. So when Cheryl Queen, vice president of communication and corporate affairs for Compass Group USA, said she was going to accompany them for two days of the two-week march, I immediately said, “I’ll go with you!” with great enthusiasm and not much thought.

National Farmworker Awareness Week, hosted by the Student Action for Farmworkers (SAF) and cosponsored by Bon Appétit Management Company, is quickly approaching. March 24-31 is a week dedicated to raising awareness about farmworkers and the conditions they face as participants in a food system focused on keeping prices lower at any cost.

Bon Appétit believes that making a difference in the lives of others—one that pays dividends long past the holiday season — is the best gift we can give. This year’s beneficiary is the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA).