Advocates say seasonal farm workers are forced onto high-cost, low-nutrition employer-run meal plans
Many farms require seasonal workers to buy into employer-run meal plans. But far too often, advocates say, the food on offer is overpriced and under-nourishing. In a new op-ed for Facing South, they detail meal plans that cost workers as much as $70 to $80 a week, while covering the bare minimum in sustenance. Some workers say that they are served leftovers from past meals, or meals comprised only of beans and bologna. Some are served only on weekdays, so aren’t fed on Sundays. Others have been forced to find workarounds, like cooking over an open fire. And meals for workers with health-related dietary concerns like lactose intolerance or gastritis? Forget about it. Advocates say workers may feel reluctant to demand dignified cooking spaces out of fear of retaliation from employers. But employers are exactly who they’re calling on to provide safe, sanitary kitchens for workers. Shouldn’t everyone have the agency to cook and eat what they want, they argue, especially the very people harvesting produce for the country? Read the op-ed here.