“We are trying to have workers become as trendy as local and organic has become in the industry,” Saru Jayaraman, co-director and co-founder of ROC, told us. “It’s going to take the three stakeholders – workers, good employers, and consumers – working together to actually change things.”
The Food Chain Workers Alliance has a goal of nothing less than full rights and fair wages for the 20 million workers who grow, harvest, process, pack, ship, cook, serve, and sell food in the US.
For decades, farmworkers – the more than one million men and women who work in fields and orchards around the country – have been leading a struggle for justice in our food system. They have been building awareness and mobilizing the public, successfully securing some rights, higher wages, and better working conditions.
From the school cafeteria to rural tomato farms, and all the way to pickets at the White House, people are challenging the ways in which government programs benefit big agribusiness to the detriment of small- and mid-sized farmers.
The need for American citizens to become the policy-makers to create a just and sustainable food supply chain is urgent, because in the hands of the US government it has become increasingly unjust and unsustainable.
Heather Retberg stood on the steps of the Blue Hill, Maine town hall surrounded by 200 people. “We are farmers,” she told the crowd, “who are supported by our friends and our neighbors who know us and trust us, and want to ensure that they maintain access to their chosen food supply.”
Think that burger’s cheap? Tory Field and Beverly Bell of Other Worlds dig into the costs, both human and environmental, of the industrialized food system.
Other Worlds’ Tory Field and Beverly Bell discuss issues of sustainability and agriculture with Mississippi farmer and member of Via Campesina’s food sovereignty commission Ben Burkett.
Feeling the need to do some holiday shopping over the next few days? No doubt, some will find Black Friday (or, shoot, Black Thursday now) deals too tempting to resist. But if you can wait a day, and focus your buying on small, local businesses on Small Business Saturday, you’ll avoid a lot of environmental impact, and do more good for your local economy.
The key to restructuring the economy is to get the market to tell the truth through full-cost pricing. If the world is to move onto a sustainable path, we need economists who will calculate indirect costs and work with political leaders to incorporate them into market prices by restructuring taxes. Full-cost pricing that will create an honest market is essential to building an economy that can sustain civilization and progress.
Our natural systems are the foundation of our economy. We can roughly estimate how much it will cost to reforest the earth, protect topsoil, restore rangelands and fisheries, stabilize water tables, and protect biological diversity.
The global economy grew 3.8 percent in 2011, a drop from 5.2 percent in 2010. Economists had anticipated a slowdown, but this was even less growth than expected, thanks to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, unrest in oil-producing countries, the debt crisis in Europe, and a stagnating recovery in the United States.
By Lester R. Brown As economic decision makers—whether consumers, corporate planners, government policymakers, or investment bankers—we all depend on the market for guidance. In order for markets to work and [ … ]