On Friday, October 14, Slow Food will co-sponsor an viewing party with Bon Appetit of the TEDx Fruitvale conference on farmworker justice, Harvesting Change. More info about that event can be found here. The following is a letter to the editor by chair Erin Swenson-Klatt and treasurer Rachel Manning published in the Oberlin Review on why this event is so important:
Did you know that a 12-year-old child could have legally picked the tomatoes for your salad? Child labor laws are just one of the areas in which our agricultural system allows outrageous loopholes when it comes to farmworker issues. About 1.4 million farmworkers work throughout the U.S. and these hardworking men and women are consistently deprived of a living wage; are exposed to dangerous chemicals, equipment, and weather; and excluded from many of the laws and regulations that protect workers in other industries, including the right to form unions. This is not an issue confined to California or Florida. Farmworkers live and work in communities around Oberlin, and you eat produce every day from all over the U.S. that was picked by farmworkers.
While Americans have recently become familiar with the concept of local and organic foods, we often ignore the labor issues associated with the food we buy and eat. On October 14, Slow Food Oberlin and Bon Appetit will take some time to change that trend by hosting a viewing party of Harvesting Change, a TEDx conference on the history, context and future of the farmworker justice movement. While farmworkers, activists, policy makers, artists and academics talk in Oakland, CA, we’ll be watching them live here in Oberlin, OH.
As a student organization working to educate, engage and empower students about food and food issues, Slow Food Oberlin is tremendously excited to be a part of this conversation. Slow Food is an international movement that advocates for Good, Clean, and Fair food, and we believe that this will be a great opportunity to focus on what those words mean. Whatever your interest level, we hope you’ll take some time out of next Friday afternoon and join us in classroom 201 in the AJLC for this unique opportunity to learn about the farmworker justice movement from the people who know it best. More information can be found on facebook.com/slowfoodoberlin or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.