Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Food-related social justice issues in the news

USDA loan discrimination. As many as 66,000 farm workers were inadequately informed about the settlements from the successful Pigford v. Glickman civil rights case concerning racially related loan denial by the USDA. There was a Congressional hearing on Monday with testimony from Vernon Park of the USDA Civil Rights Office and Dr. John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), among other advocates. [Environmental Working Group, Washington Post]

Harassment and no overtime. A 60-acre family farm in NY goes bankrupt to a pending lawsuit by workers. The farm's manager, Cheryl Rogowski, is not named in the lawsuit and has been honored numerous times for her efforts to help educate migrant and seasonal workers, both at her own farm and throughout the region.

Tomato sweatshops. A Taco Bell boycott has been launched by tomato pickers in Florida. The Washington Post describes:
"If they're lucky, the workers get to spend 12 hours on their hands and knees, filling buckets of tomatoes for 40 to 50 cents a bucket."
Will we ever bear the true costs of what we eat?

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