If you eat, you rely on farmers, but you also rely on the labor of 2.5 million farm workers in the United States who earn wages below the poverty limit ($10,000 per year) while risking their lives in the harshest conditions in order to bring us most of the food we eat on a day to day basis.
Photographer and writer Rick Nahmias and the California Institute for Rural Studies have created a multimedia project called "Fair Food: Field to Table," allowing farm workers to tell their own stories, and featuring the voices of farm worker advocates and producers who are pursuing solutions to creating socially just conditions on the farm and in food businesses.
Part one takes a look behind the scenes of the food system, to the places where most farm workers live (because farm workers are often transient, they can get stuck sharing very small spaces with people they don't even know while get submitted to poor drinking water and other demeaning conditions), and to the fields, where the conditions can sometimes look indistinguishable from slavery.
Part two focuses on the solutions growers have found to dignify the work of farm workers -- having a dialog with them, providing health insurance, helping them buy their own home in the community or providing them with separate living spaces with air conditioning. Amy Hepworth from Hepworth Farms in Milton, New York says in the film, "Its so simple when it comes down to labor: happy worker turns into a productive farm."
Part three focuses on what you can do to change conditions for farm workers, and features the voices of organizations, students, chefs and others changing the system.
Watch part one of the project below, and then go here to watch part two and three.
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