Farmworkers

Farmworkers play an essential role in a healthy, functioning food system. Farmworkers primarily contribute to the safe, efficient, and stable production and delivery of fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products that contribute to the economy and food security efforts in United States agriculture. Farmworkers can generally be bucketed into two groups: self-employed farm workers with their family members, and seasonally hired farm workers, which can add to the complexity of understanding issues related to farm work. 


Historically, farm work has always been a challenging career. However, in recent decades, a variety of social, economic, and political issues have contributed even more to tough conditions for farmworkers. Decreasing numbers of small to mid-sized family farms in the American agricultural scene paired with rising numbers of large scaled farms has resulted in family farms struggling to make ends meet.  Challenges conditions for migrant farmworkers employed seasonally include facing issues such as discrimination, long hours, low wages, and poor access to health care and benefits. Further, the hazardous conditions in farm work contribute to it being high risk work. For instance, farmworkers face routine exposure to pesticides, heat stress, and injury from farm equipment, which all contribute to health disparities in this population. 


Extra attention is needed to create conditions for farmworkers that work towards fairer compensation and better work environments. Support for policies and programs that protect farm workers as well as increased support for educational campaigns can help raise awareness to change working conditions for farm workers. Additionally, support for local food cooperatives, farmers markets, and other organizations that promote fair labor practices can all contribute positively. Emphasis on changes in the agricultural environment that prioritize locally-grown, pesticide-free grown food can help contribute to a more equitable food system. 

Resources & Tools


Screen capture America’s Farmers: Resilient Throughout the COVID Pandemic
America’s Farmers: Resilient Throughout the COVID Pandemic
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by USDA
Screen Capture of Website Cover Page: Southern New Jersey Equitable Approach to Overcoming the Pandemic
Southern New Jersey Equitable Approach to Overcoming the Pandemic
Resource - Case Study
Brought to you by CDC
Essential and in Crisis: A Review of the Public Health Threats Facing Farmworkers
Essential and in Crisis: A Review of the Public Health Threats Facing Farmworkers
Resource - Report
Brought to you by Johns Hopkins University
Screen capture of What is the Farm Bill?
What Is the Farm Bill?
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen capture of 2023 Farm Bill Hearing Trackers
2023 Farm Bill Hearing Trackers
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen capture of History of the United States Farm Bill
History of the United States Farm Bill
Resource - Website/webpage
Graphic displaying title of policy 'Extend Labor Rights to Domestic and Agricultural Workers'
Extend Labor Rights to Domestic and Agricultural Workers
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by WIN Network
Published on 04/16/2021
Screen capture of Strengthening SNAP: Opportunities in the 2023 Farm Bill
Strengthening SNAP: Opportunities in the 2023 Farm Bill
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Bipartisan Policy Center Inc.
First page of Building Resilience in a Changing World: AFT’S 2023 Farm Bill Recommendations
Building Resilience in a Changing World: AFT’S 2023 Farm Bill Recommendations
Resource
Brought to you by American Farmland Trust
Screen Capture of top of newsletter: The Growing Gap: Gender Pay Equity, Meaningful Work, and Wealth during COVID-19
In Common Newsletter: The Growing Gap
Resource
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 03/23/2022
Screen capture of The Farm Bill webpage
The Farm Bill
Resource - Legislation
Screen capture of Funding Rural Podcast webpage
Funding Rural Podcast
Resource - Podcast
Brought to you by Roundhouse Foundation
Screen capture of Why WA’s Farmworkers Are Disappearing article
Why WA’s Farmworkers Are Disappearing
Story - Written
Brought to you by The Seattle Times
Published on 03/28/2024
Farm stand with vegetables in boxes. Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
7 Food System Trends That Give Us Hope
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
A screen grab of ¡Échale Ganas! story
¡Échale Ganas!
Story - Written
Brought to you by Patagonia
Screen capture of The Story of Cesar Chavez
The Story of Cesar Chavez
Story - Written
Photo of a group of children holding and eating peppers
Harvesting Health and Hope Through Farmer-Health Care Cooperation
Story - Original
Brought to you by Community Commons
Published on 04/17/2018
Screen capture of COVID-19 Fallout Hits Farmers
COVID-19 Fallout Hits Farmers
Story - Written
Brought to you by APA

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