Much food production in Europe and North America depends on migrant workers. Yet, most people are not aware of the extreme working and living conditions involved in food production and processing. In many cases workers are people who have been forced to move to regions in the Global North due to climate change and conflict from rural and land-based livelihoods in poorer countries or regions. The criminalisation of migration is making people’s journeys to seek refuge increasingly dangerous and fuelling exploitation of people within the industrial food and farming system.
In this session, we will hear from members of La Via Campesina from Italy and the US-Mexican border region. This will allow us to consider the challenges faced by farmworkers on the front line of the transnational labour movement. We will ask what can be done to show solidarity with workers, and we will learn from the recent experiences of La Via Campesina organisers.
To understand how we can oppose racist oppression of land-based workers and challenge the systemic causes of exploitation, we will hear about new models of ethical agriculture run by Italians and migrant workers. To explore how similar struggles emerge in industrial food systems across the world, we will hear from Carlos Marentes who has been a labour organizer and farm worker advocate since 1977. The discussion will focus on long-standing struggles, new challenges in the context of coronavirus, and messages of hope and solidarity.
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