What did you eat today? If you’re trying to get your daily recommended five cups of fruits and vegetables, the chances are overwhelming that you’ve eaten something handpicked by one of the 2-3 million men, women, and children who will work in U.S. fields this year.
That means a portion of your meal passed through the hands of a person involved in the third most dangerous job in the country. According to Student Action with Farmworkers, “[t]he people who plant and harvest our fruits and vegetables suffer from the highest rate of toxic chemical injuries of any other workers in the nation and have higher incidences of heat stress, dermatitis, urinary tract infections, parasitic infections, and tuberculosis than other wage-earners. ”
Catholic Rural Life maintains that we the Faithful “bear witness to the great pain and stress experienced when a laborer works long days in the field or inside meat/poultry processing factories,” and we’re not alone in this. In 2003, the USCCB, published “For I Was Hungry & You Gave Me Food: Catholic Reflections on Food, Farmers, and Farmworkers“, in which they renewed their commitment to lift up the situation of agricultural workers and to work to improve their lives and those of their families. Farmworkers are among the most vulnerable and exploited people in our land. Their situation demands a response from people of faith.
Over the years, CRL has joined forces with farm worker justice groups to advocate for fair policies and raise consumer awareness. You can read about our efforts here. By becoming a member of Catholic Rural Life, you help us continue our efforts towards food and worker justice.