Megnut

The hard life of an organic farm worker

Hard Labor is an interesting article from The Nation about the people who work on organic farms.

For many consumers, an organic apple tastes sweeter not only because it's healthier but because it conjures up a vision of a simpler, more pure world, where we produce our food without wreaking havoc on the environment and our relationship to it is unmediated by fear, guilt or the drive for excessive profits. This image of a food utopia has fueled the growth of the organic food industry, which is expanding by 20 percent each year.

But the farmworkers who bring in the organic harvest face a different reality, one largely invisible to food buyers. Whether they work in the fields or in processing plants, most workers on organic farms, like those on conventional farms, are immigrants from Mexico who earn minimum wage or slightly more and receive no benefits. Fieldwork on organic farms can be especially strenuous because farmers employ back-breaking methods like hand-weeding to avoid using pesticides.

I spend a lot of time on this site talking about how animals are treated. This article makes me realize how little attention I've paid to how the people who harvest our food are treated. From now on, I hope to do a better job of that.

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