As we know, farm workers are one of the most essential parts of the food supply chain. Without their dedication and hard work, the food they produce would never reach our table. In the US, the vast majority of farm workers are undocumented and so are constantly subject to persecution, low wages and deportation. The United Farm Workers have been fighting for years for rights for undocumented farm workers to gain citizenship, but they have not yet won their fight. Raids on farm workers are happening at a faster rate than ever before and undocumented farm workers constantly live life in fear of deportation.
In the words of acting ICE Director Homan to undocumented immigrants including those feeding us and our communities, “You should be uncomfortable. You should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried.”
Farm workers and their families are constantly worried that they will be next and are often targeted on the basis of their race. As hate and fear are finding footholds all over the country, now is the time to support our farm workers and farming communities. The UFW are working to educate workers about their rights and continue to campaign on behalf of undocumented farm workers in a bid to secure residency rights for these essential members of our community, some of whom have been working hard and paying taxes for over 20 years.
To find out more about the work being done by the United Farm Workers, or to donate to this important cause click here
by Richard Marosi
Veronica Zaragoza grew up in these coastal fields, picking berries and tomatoes and watching an industry being transformed.She saw new greenhouses erected, irrigation lines spread through the fields, packing plants expanded and produce piled onto ever-larger trucks.
Everything in this fertile agricultural region 200 miles south of San Diego has changed, it seemed, except her wages. Zaragoza said she still earns 110 pesos per day, about $8 — a little more than when she started picking as a 13-year-old. Zaragoza, now 26, joined thousands of pickers this week as they spilled onto the streets to protest low wages in a bold demonstration — the first strike by farmworkers here in decades.
Pickers not only stayed out of the fields, they stood shoulder to shoulder blocking the main highway, stalling traffic for hours and all but stopping the harvest at the height of the season.
To read more, click HERE!
It started yesterday and continues through March 17! The CIW March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food
The Fair Food movement began nearly thirteen years ago, in February of 2000, when farmworkers from Immokalee — who until then had been largely locked in anonymous battle with Florida tomato growers within the boundaries of Immokalee — joined forces with students, people of faith, and everyday consumers to take their call for “Dignity, Dialogue, and a Fair Wage” on the road. With little more than a map to guide them, a field truck to carry their supplies, and a 12-ft tall replica of the Statue of Liberty made of fabric, plaster and duct tape to lead the way, they took off on a two-week long trek from Ft. Myers to the offices of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association in Orlando.
Among the marchers’ number were several workers whose testimony led to convictions in two seminal slavery prosecutions (US vs. Flores, US vs. Cuello); an 18-yr old Romeo Ramirez, 23-yr old Lucas Benitez, and 22-yr old Julia Gabriel who three years later would receive the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for their leadership in the struggle for farmworker rights; and the core of young student activists who came together in the wake of those two unforgettable weeks to form the Student/Farmworker Alliance, now a key ally in the Fair Food movement. The march marked the first major excursion of Immokalee farmworkers outside the confines of southwest Florida and onto the cognitive map of the nation as a creative, and courageous, new force for social change.
The Fair Food movement is returning to its roots. March 3-17 we are taking to the streets again in a two-week march, from Ft. Myers to Publix headquarters in Lakeland, the “March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food.”
When conditions are so bad that only the most desperate will take the work, and then the state starts cracking down on illegals– crops wither on the vine.
We take issue with the thinking that is in power, and with the injustice that these farmworkers face.