Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Global Food System

A fascinating new book explores the many complex issues that plague our global food system and attempts to offer solutions. Published  in July, The Global Food System: Issues and Solutions is a compilation of essays written by experts in different fields tackling several facets of the food system and edited by William D. Schanbacher. Chapter 4, which is about racism and gender discrimination faced by food chain workers, was written by our friend Joann Lo, Executive Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance. The FCWA is a coalition of organizations advocating for food chain workers and the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF). 

The chapter delves into the racial and gender discrimination that workers must face at every level of the food chain—farmworkers, food processing workers, distribution and warehouse workers, retail workers, and, finally, restaurant workers. Joann highlighted the story of our own Linda Lee and her leadership role in the Lake Apopka Quilt Project and FWAF in the section on farmworkers and the long history of racism on Florida farms.

An excerpt from the book:

“Linda started working on farms in the summers in the late 1960s, when she was about six years old. She harvested corn, cabbages, carrots, cucumbers tomatoes, beans hickory nuts, and potatoes…. ‘It was pretty tough trying to work, with cold, and then getting sunburned…. There was racism because they didn’t treat us equally. They’d tell us we had to get an order in, so if you got hurt in the fiends, it’s like: Go on back to work.’”

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