‘As Common As Dirt‘ just received the 2013 James Beard Award in the Politics/Policy/Environment category, one of the most prestigious awards for food journalism. Click the link above to get an eye-opening reminder of the realities of American farm labor.
Particularly, it exposes the ‘farm labor contractor’ system, a system in which an intermediary between farm owners and the people working on the farm offers farms a reliable stream of labor hands in the times that they need it, but also gives them the opportunity to distance themselves from the working conditions and the treatment the hired hands are subjected to on the farm itself. In the words of the article,
Farm-labor contractors give American produce growers what companies like China’s Foxconn offer to Apple: a way to outsource a costly and complicated part of the business, often saving money in the process and creating a firewall between the brand and the working conditions under which its products are made.
It’s a great Sunday read and a stark reminder that where our food comes from is not only a matter of environmental sustainability, but also social sustainability and justice.