Your Labor Day reading list: five stories that will help you understand the workers behind what you eat

Stories in honor of the workers who produce, pick, process, pack, and plate our food.

Labor Day beckons, dear reader. And all across the country this weekend, plenty of Americans will be busy indulging in their one last hurrah before the summer officially ends.

But there’s a lot more to Labor Day than long weekends and mattress sales, of course. Are you a worker? Well, the labor movement was thinking of you when it founded this holiday in the 19th century to honor (and protest) sweat and toil and 12-hour days. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland made it legit, declaring the first Monday of September a federal holiday.

Aren’t you glad everything is all better now?

This Labor Day, we at The New Food Economy will be thinking of the workers who produce, pick, process, pack, and plate our food—so many of whom are invisible to eaters. In their honor, we’re sharing their stories. Welcome to the secret life of the supply chain.

One-third of Amazon employees in Arizona need food stamps to feed themselves.

We recently obtained data on SNAP employers from six states and found that thousands of people who work in fast-food and retail jobs don’t make enough money to buy groceries.

Across the country, the newest generation of female farmers is discovering that having children can redefine their relationship to farm work.

Debates over the tip credit have brought up challenging questions about race, class, and income. The resulting decisions could change restaurant culture forever.

North Korean forced laborers filet some salmon steaks sold at Walmart. That shouldn’t happen. Here’s why it does.

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