With Thanksgiving around the corner, we have been contemplating gratitude not just for the good food in our lives, but also for the farmworkers whose unseen hard labor brings this nourishment to our tables. We just watched a new online documentary on this subject, called Fair Food: Field to Table, and highly recommend it. For many food lovers, the reality of unfair conditions for farmworkers is something we don't have to confront, and even if we do, it may be daunting to know what action to take. Watching Fair Food: Field to Table is a good way to start learning and acting. Created by photographer Rick Nahmias (The Migrant Project) and the California Institute for Rural Studies, the documentary shows us the poverty-ridden situations of U.S. farm laborers, but it doesn't end there or focus on making viewers feel guilty. More importantly, the documentary explores what can be done to transform the U.S. food system into a socially-just one.
Part one – The Farmworkers – identifies the problem and, through photographs and interviews, humanizes the workers who pick our fruits and vegetables. Parts two and three – The Growers and The Advocates – give solutions and highlight the organizations, businesses, chefs, and students that are committed to supporting fair labor conditions. The accompanying Web site also has suggestions for what we can do as eaters – things like buying local and direct, tips for talking to farmers, and asking our food service providers to buy fair trade.
Although consumers and farmworkers rarely, if ever, encounter one another, we are intimately connected, and this documentary is an important reminder. Watch it online: • Fair Food Project
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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