Buying locally grown produce helps strengthen your community and reduce CO2 emissions, while also protecting local water sources and wildlife habitats. Here are some ways you can support farming families who are fighting to stay afloat against large farming corporations.
I’ve become more conscious of the brands found in the produce section at Whole Foods and other supermarkets. How can we buy the berries we love while supporting fair labor wages and inclusivity for independent farmers? The answer is the National Young Farmers Coalition. After introducing Young Farmers to our giving program, we’ve learned about the hardships endured by nascent farmers — from finding affordable land to get started to the new barriers created by the current health pandemic.
Along with the toll Covid-19 is taking on mom and pop farmers is the requirement to navigate complex state and federal programs to attempt to gain some relief. Many employ undocumented workers, and according to United Farm Workers, “Undocumented farm workers pay taxes, but they are left out of the stimulus check the rest of us are eligible to receive. Even their U.S. citizen children are left out. They are told they are essential workers, but they are not receiving essential benefits.”
Yaneth Corona, a farmer in Homestead, Florida, says, “Coronavirus doesn’t choose based on whether you have documents or not. It hits uniformly across populations. Why isn’t the government helping uniformly too?”
We are fortunate for the detailed references Young Farmers provides on how to combat these effects. They are, as stated in their Covid-19 response, committed to doing everything they can to “support farmers, ranchers, and farm workers through the coronavirus pandemic as its impacts unfold on our communities and food system.”
Sophie Ackoff, Co-Executive Director at Young Famers, says that farm workers, particularly the undocumented, already experience systemic racism and that is now amplified with our food system in crisis. With maintaining and selling crops being the main source of income for many farming communities, the economic turmoil caused by Covid-19 continues to add stress — especially because we are in the midst of seeding time when farmers and ranchers are gearing up for the growing season. Closing down is simply not financially feasible and a slow season won’t bode well for small independent farmers.
“We are committed to using our organizational power to amplify the work of our allies leading this work, including Farmworker Justice, United Farm Workers, the Alianza Nacional De Campesinas, the HEAL Food Alliance, and the Fair World Project,” says Ackoff.
Farm workers are essential workers. They deserve protection and opportunities to become citizens. Understanding where your food comes from is the first step to supporting them and being an ally for this underserved community.
How can you help? Support your local farmer’s markets, sign up for a CSA, and join Young Farmers action network to help put food on the table for the hands that make fresh produce available.
How are you supporting local farming? Share with us on Instagram and tag us in the post! @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenGiving
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