During National Farmworker Awareness Week, March 24-31, Bon Appétit cafés across the country engaged guests on the topic of farmworkers and the difficult working conditions they face, then shared ways for people to stay informed and become involved in the movement. Last year, students shared such thoughtful responses, that we once again set up collage boards in our cafés asking students why they support farmworkers’ rights.
Among the replies posted by students from Reed College in Portland, OR, and Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH, to University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and American University in Washington, DC:
- I know I take more pride in my job if I am treated well and my needs are met. Farmworkers treated well = Better food.
- Because they are the backbone of all civilization.
- Because they work hard so that I can eat well.
- Because if it were up to me to grow my own food, I’d probably starve to death.
- Farmworkers are some of the hardest working people I know and they deserve all the respect.
- Enforce minimum wage for migrant workers. Change comes from the ground up.
- Because they do a really tough job.
From issues of fairness and respect for all people to matters of sustainability in the food sytem and personal experience, students covered a wide range of reasons to support farmworkers’ rights, demonstrating the many angles from which we can look at the issue and still come to the same conclusion: Farmworkers deserve dignity and fair compensation for the integral role that they play in harvesting our food.
To lean more, watch for Food Chains, a forthcoming documentary that digs deep into the injustices against farmworkers across America, hits the road with student protesters and hunger strikers, and prods supermarkets and consumers to take action. The film is directed by Sanjay Rawal, one of our TEDxFruitvale speakers, and features Eric Schlosser, Barry Estabrook, and leaders from the CIW in addition to many farmworker voices and advocates. ‘Like’ the film’s Facebook page to help the film build buzz, stay informed, and show that consumers do care about the people who pick their food.