August 24, 2016

The Dark Side of Local Farming

by Amanda Hayman '17

Margaret Gray, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at Adelphi University and author of Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic recently penned an article for Jacobin magazine exposing the dark realities of working conditions on local farms.

Despite romantic notions of life on small farms and a push to buy produce from them, Dr. Gray argues that life for the men and women who labor on these farms is far from ideal. Based on extensive interviews with farmworkers, Dr. Gray found ample evidence of exploitation and dangerous conditions. She also found that, lacking formal education and job opportunities, farmworkers are afraid to speak up and are often exploited.

“While supporting farmworker efforts against corporate giants is commendable, we also need look in our own backyards and confront our local farmers—which should be one of the benefits of intimacy,” Dr. Gray wrote.

 Read the article in Jacobin magazine.

Farmworkers in Southern California. Russ Allison Loar / Flickr

Farmworkers in Southern California. Russ Allison Loar / Flickr (published in “Jacobin” magazine)

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