02 June 2016

Local food, global labour

The globalized movement of things, money, ideas, images and people has become more frequent and normal than any time in history. This is especially the case for those of us in North America, where what we eat has travelled to our grocery stores from across the world. This concern for where our food comes from has prompted many people to "eat local" and champion the idea of farm-to-table meals.

But, something that we usually don't consider about our "100-mile diets" is the labour of growing and harvesting these local foods. The reality often is that the people who work on the farms and in factories where our food is processed are migrant labourers. And, as we have seen in the Canadian case, even though many of these workers arrive through legal channels, they often lack the kinds of labour and human rights we expect in Canada.

In this piece from CBC Radio, you can hear a discussion about the problems with Canadian labour programs like the temporary and seasonal farm worker programs. In this discussion, social justice activist Chris Ramsaroop (Justice for Migrant Workers) discusses how these programs are actually part of broader processes of systemic racism, and global economic inequalities between the Global North and Global South.

Quick links and further reading: