If you’ve seen Food, Inc., you got a quick overview of some of the hardships faced by many of the workers who help bring food to your table. Now, a short video series from the Fair Food Project takes a closer look at the work and lives of migrant farm workers.
Put together by California Institute for Rural Studies and Rick Nahmias Photography with a grant from the Columbia Foundation, Fair Food Project is a three-video series that highlights some of the labor problems in conventional farms today. It then goes into the many solutions, and the activists behind those solutions, intended to improve labor conditions and the food we eat.
The first video, “The Farmworkers,” lays out the dire situation. Featuring short interviews with a number of migrant workers, the video describes the mistreatment and overwork — ranging from cramped living conditions to slavery-like labor with threats of violence — endured by migrant farm workers.
Luckily, the second and third videos are more hopeful. “The Growers” highlights the growing number of farms and food companies that are trying to merge ethical labor practices with healthy, organic agriculture. According to one foodie activist, improving farm workers’ livelihoods simply requires “communication and understanding that their well-being matters to you.” She points out that “happy worker turns into productive farm,” linking eco-ethical concerns with the economic bottom line. The last video, “The Advocates,” covers the many activist groups, organizations and companies that are working to make domestic food fair.
While informative, the Fair Food Project
can be rather dry, especially if you’re already aware of many of the issues brought up in the films. The last video, for example, basically features one to two-sentence clips that introduce a whole bunch of different activist groups and companies — sort of like a long bulleted list in video-form. Still, each video’s just five to nine minutes long and will likely introduce you to some great local activist organizations to get involved with — and some forward-thinking farms to buy from.