Recent Articles About Food and Farm Labor

Health on the Menu in the Pacific Northwest

Restaurant workers haul ass to provide us seasonal, delicious, safely-prepared food. And yet their meager wages—the typical restaurant worker makes $15,000 a year—are barely enough to pay their rent and groceries, let alone health insurance premiums. (This is especially true in the case of bussers and dishwashers, some of the least glamorous and lowest paying jobs in the restaurant industry.) Read more

Walmart and the Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

Today, as we dig into our Thanksgiving leftovers–for us, that’s pumpkin pudding and my mother-in-laws famous nutloaf–we’ll be thinking about the Walmart workers around the country who are bravely stepping away from their jobs to bring attention to the paltry pay and poor working conditions by the country’s largest private employer. Read more

The Welcome Table: A Fresh Look at the Restaurant Industry

The growth and influence of the food movement are undeniable. Take, for example, the proliferation of farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture, or the 4,500 events that took place across all 50 states on this year’s Food Day. These are just some of the testaments to the power of everyday eaters expressing their food beliefs. The list of qualifiers we now eagerly attach to our meals has exploded—we want food that’s local, organic, sustainable, fair trade, healthy, vegan, macrobiotic. Yet, with all of the craze around food and its various product labels, something seems amiss. Read more

Thank Food Workers This International Food Workers Week

This week, from November 24-30, is the second annual International Food Workers Week (IFWW), organized by the Food Chain Workers Alliance. Organized around Thanksgiving, our goal is to lift up the workers in our food system–from farmworkers to those who work in meat, poultry, and food processing and in the distribution, retail, and service industries. With 20 million food workers in the U.S., and millions more around the world, our economy and our daily sustenance depends on these people. Read more

A Chef Speaks Out on Farm Labor

Recently, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) received the prestigious Four Freedoms Medal from the Roosevelt Institute. The CIW, a worker-based human rights organization recognized worldwide for its ground-breaking work to end modern-day slavery and other agriculture-based labor abuses, joins a truly remarkable list of laureates, including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton.  Read more

How a Family Farm Brought Me Closer To My Own

When I first met Nancy and Cindy Prebilich–two sisters in Northern California struggling to hold onto their 5th-generation family ranch after the sudden death of their parents–their story inspired me because it reminded me so much of my mom. When I was a kid, my mom would tell me stories about her own mother and her grandparents, who came from Norway in the 1860s to farm in Badger, Iowa, a small town of 300. Read more

Local Doesn’t Always Mean Fair: Washington Berry Pickers Urge Boycott

On July 10, Frederico Lopez couldn’t take it anymore. The berry picker says he was constantly barraged with verbal abuse by his supervisor, while earning only 30 cents per pound of berries. “It’s unjust to yell at us like we are animals, simply for asking for a fair wage” he told his supervisors that day. It is no surprise that Lopez spoke up. At such a low rate, he and his fellow workers have to pick at an impossible speed just to earn Washington State’s $9.19 minimum wage. Read more