Social Justice and Food Production

Key Facts

Farm workers in the food production system are vulnerable to:

  • Health hazards that result from handling pesticides or inhaling toxic fumes from animal waste.
  • Injury caused by maneuvering dangerous machinery.
  • Sexual harassment and abuse by their supervisors or other workers.
  • Wage theft.

Why It Matters

Food and farm work is extremely physically challenging. The production of most of our food, from fruits and vegetables to meat and poultry, relies on human labor – these workers make it possible for our food system to function. Their work pays poorly, is often unregulated, and falls to those will tolerate such conditions because they have few other choices.

Truly sustainable food must be produced in a way that takes not only the environment and consumers into account, but also the people who grow, harvest and process our food.

While food and farm labor remains some of the most underpaid and undervalued work in the United States, there are some new, successful worker-organizing strategies that have emerged to ensure fairer pay and better working conditions. There are also new labels consumers can look for so they know they are supporting a food system that is not only environmentally sustainable but also fair for the workers producing your food.

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