food workers

Food Workers and Food Justice Conference: Food Workers Unite!

by Diana Robinson

photo credit: Food Chain Workers Alliance


*Any opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not constitute the opinions of the Food Systems Network NYC.

In this day and age, we find ourselves questioning where our food comes from, how the animals are treated, the impact of food production on the environment, whether food is organic, and ultimately, whether or not it’s all together sustainable.  So it comes as no surprise that large food corporations have caught on and participate in “nutri-washing,” a term coined by Michele R. Simon of Eat Drink Politics, playing to our low-calorie, environmentally friendly and organic needs. But how sustainable is an organic apple if the worker who picked it works under dangerous and hazardous conditions and doesn’t even earn minimum wage? This is the very question the Food Chain Workers Alliance wished to address at the Food Workers and Food Justice Conference on June 6, 2012, in New York City.

Farm Bill 1.10: Why the Next Food and Farm Bill Needs a Competition Title

by Yi Wang & Eric Weltman, Food and Water Watch
February 2012
American farm policy and corporate mergers have created powerful agribusiness giants with dominant market shares—corporations that control virtually every of segment of the industrial food system. A leading agricultural economist in 2002 concluded that consolidation across the food system has hurt farmers and consumers more than the efficiency gains it has generated.1  While monopolies and oligopolies have captured the bulk of the profits, small and midsized family farms have gotten squeezed out. Workers face exploitative conditions and consumers end up paying higher prices, with millions living in food deserts without access to fresh food.

There is a growing movement to (re)build food systems that are good, local, sustainable, and fair. Alternative certification schemes such as organic and Fair Trade and marketing channels such as farmers markets, food hubs, and community-supported agriculture (CSAs) offer practical examples of visions for a more equitable and sustainable food system. Unfortunately, voting with our wallets and forks alone is not enough. As the ‘alternative food movement’ works at the local level to restore links between consumers and farmers, urban and rural, and to secure justice and rights for workers, we must also address the rules that govern the food system. The next Farm Bill presents a critical opportunity to chip away at the power of agribusiness and to build fair and sustainable local food systems.

Video: Back to the Start

"The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system. It was created to promote the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, a non-profit organization that is committed to creating a more sustainable and healthful food supply and to raising awareness concerning food issues."

Slow Food USA National Congress

Posted by Ed Yowell, FSNYC Governing Board Member, Slow Food NY/NJ Regional Governor, and Slow Food NYC Leadership Committee Member

Slow Food Nation: Opinion Piece-"Good, Clean, Fair"

Posted by Kerry Trueman, Eating Liberally

As overwhelming undertakings go, Slow Food Nation's inaugural event was an awesome achievement. Slow Food Nation's goal, ultimately, according to executive director Anya Fernald, is "to create a food system for all Americans that is healthy, socially just, affordable, and delicious."

That's an awfully ambitious agenda, and this extraordinary event definitely encountered a few speed bumps in its drive to downshift our fast food nation. The folks who organized Slow Food Nation envisaged it as a "truly inclusive" series of forums, tastings, exhibits, screenings, and so on, but there was a notable lack of diversity in the crowds who turned out to the various events, and the price of entrée to some of the forums and food tastings no doubt put them out of reach for many.

Slow Food Nation: Opinion Piece- "Come to the Table"

Posted by Sara Grady
"Come to the Table," the motto of Slow Food Nation this past weekend in San Francisco, summed the gathering's goal of inspiring and catalyzing “a new critical awareness of food culture." It certainly was inspirational to see so many people connecting to a burgeoning social movement around food issues. Yet it appeared that most of us in attendance were already at the proverbial table.

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