“The Plate,” National Geographic • March 31, 2016
Giving the 3.5 million workers picking produce on American farms a raise to match the $15 an hour many fast food workers are fighting for sounds unaffordable, right?
Not really. According to University of California-Davis agricultural labor economist Philip Martin, the likely additional cost to American shoppers of that wage hike would be about $20 a year. Continue reading “Can We Afford to Pay U.S. Farmworkers More?”
“The Salt,” National Public Radio • Jan. 29, 2016
Farm workers in two of the nation’s most important agricultural counties joined other low-wage food sector workers on Wednesday, demanding better wages with a new Bill of Rights. Continue reading “Activists Demand A Bill Of Rights For California Farm Workers”
Modern Farmer • Winter 2016
En español aquí
When Julia de la Cruz moved to the United States in 2006, she landed, as many migrants do, in a farm field. The Mexican native, who had chosen Florida because of the state’s long growing season and copious employment opportunities, found a job picking tomatoes outside a small town called Immokalee (rhymes with “broccoli”).
Long known for its harsh working conditions, Immokalee featured prominently in Edward R. Murrow’s iconic 1960 exposé, Harvest of Shame. Even in the 1980s, says Janice Fine, an associate professor of labor relations at Rutgers University, “it was the closest thing possible to hell on earth.” No one would have expected Immokalee to offer an answer to the age-old agricultural conundrum of how to balance the demand for cheap food with the need to treat farmworkers humanely. But that’s exactly the problem the town’s tomato pickers have solved. Continue reading “Labor Gains: Tracing the History of the Fair-Food Movement”
Rancho Moderno • Invierno 2016
Traducción de CIW
Artículo en Inglés aquí
Al mudarse Julia de la Cruz a los Estados Unidos en el 2006 ella llegó a trabajar al campo al igual que muchos migrantes lo hacen. Ella escogió llegar a la Florida debido a las largas temporadas y abundantes oportunidades de encontrar trabajo, así fue como empezó a trabajar piscando tomates a las afueras de un pueblito llamado Immokalee.
Immokalee es reconocido por las abusivas condiciones para sus trabajadores, tal como lo expuso al público el documental Harvest of Shame del 1960 con Edward R. Murrow. Según la profesora de relaciones laborales de la Universidad de Rutgers Janice Fine, incluso en los años 80 “era lo más parecido al infierno que existía en la tierra.” Nadie se hubiese esperado que este Immokalee fuera a producir una solución para la contradicción en la agricultura de querer producir comida barata sin maltratar a los trabajadores agrícolas. Sin embargo, esto es exactamente lo que hicieron los trabajadores piscadores de tomate de Immokalee. Continue reading “Victorias para el trabajador”
Eating Well • July/August 2015
Fair-Food Tomatoes: What Are They and Are They Worth It?
The terrible working conditions in tomato fields have become the subject of hot debate. We talked with Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and executive producer of the James Beard Award-winning film Food Chains, which is about the tomato-worker revolution. Continue reading “A Fairer Tomato”
NPR.org – The Salt • Dec. 12, 2014
Farm workers in America have long been among the nation’s poorest paid and most abused workers. But conditions have been improving for Florida tomato pickers, and those advances may soon reach other farm fields, according to the annual report released Thursday by the Fair Food Standards Council, or FFSC, a labor oversight group based in Sarasota, Fla. Continue reading “Florida Tomato Pickers’ Wins Could Extend To Dairy, Berry Workers”
FERN Talks & Eats • Nov. 3, 2014
I was honored to take part in a live storytelling event hosted by the wonderful Food and Environment Reporting Network. Below is the text of the story I performed.
Rosalinda is fourteen when I meet her. She has brown skin and black hair and eyes so pretty that even when she wears bandanas over her face in the field, you can tell she is beautiful.
Inez is fourteen, too, with the same brown skin and black hair that Rosalinda has, but her eyes aren’t as big, her smile not as wide.
They both change my life forever. Continue reading “What I learned in the garlic fields”
OnEarth • July 8, 2014
A few early-summer visits to the local farmer’s market are usually all it takes to turn us into cheerleaders for the American farm. But if you really want to know about the current state of farming in the U.S.A. (as opposed to merely knowing the current state of this summer’s heirloom tomatoes), you’ll need some real, hard facts. Continue reading “Field Studies”
On Earth • May 19, 2014
Back when Gwen Clements worked at the Perdue chicken plant in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, she stood beside a conveyor belt blanketed in chicken parts for eight hours each day. Usually she packed drumsticks, but whichever part of the bird she happened to be packing on a given shift, the smell was as constant as it was noxious: a combination of raw poultry and chlorine, the latter emanating from the pathogen-killing chemical bath that the carcasses—often contaminated with fecal matter—would receive during processing. Every one-and-a-half seconds or so, Clements would grab a piece of meat with her gloved hands Continue reading “We’ll Have the Fish, Thanks”