Last Friday afternoon, I attended the first Fair Harvest Meal at Fresno State. The event is part of a United Farm Workers campaign that is aimed at engaging college students and other young people in the farmworker advocacy movement.
During the event, as students munched on Subway sandwiches, UFW national vice president Merlyn Calderón said something that caught my attention.
“Farmworkers are not a part of our discussion of food,” she said. “People care about not having pesticides in their food, and they care about where they buy it, but they don’t connect food with farmworkers.”
Calderón then encouraged people to buy food that is “fair harvested” – meaning, the farmworkers who grew and picked the food work under a union contract, and have rights and protections. A list of unionized farms and labels can be found here.
Since moving to the San Joaquín Valley, I’ve made an effort to eat locally grown fruits and veggies, and organic produce when possible. But even as I’ve done that, I’ve wondered if my mostly vegetarian diet is respectful to the people who grow and harvest the food. I’m glad to now have a resource to follow when making my food choices.
What about you? What food labels do you look for? How do you “vote with your dollars” when purchasing food?