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:
- Local food lovers, pay attention to migrant worker rights (CBC Radio, 2016) - running time: 11.08 minutes.
- Desmond Cole writes about The shame of our disposable workers (Toronto Star, 2016), with reference to Jamaican farm worker Sheldon McKenzie who died in September 2015 due to a workplace injury after participating in circular labour migration for the past 13 years.
- The Metcalf Foundation's report Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers’ Insecurity (2012) provides a comprehensive overview of migrant labour in Canada