Transparency in the food supply is more important than ever. It is great to know more about where our food is grown, raised and what it contains.
Farmers, laborers and families represent the force behind our food supply.
A new must-see documentary has just been released called Food Chains that exposes this largely unnoticed operation and the real people who are behind stocking our shelves.
The spotlight is placed on the U.S. agricultural industry, government and businesses, and a history of continued exploitation and complete lack of moral regard for farm laborers.
What makes this documentary different than other similarly themed provocative films is that it is based completely on facts and told in narrative form with firsthand accounts of those affected.
Food Chains discloses the working conditions of farm laborers in Florida called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their attempts to initialize an ethical system called the Fair Food Program.
The goal of the Fair Food Program is to ensure a humane working environment for farmworkers and a community of mutual respect and humanity within the food industry.
The conditions of this request lay much needed responsibility within the hands of supermarkets and restaurants, who could pay a mere penny more for a pound of produce to aid the situation. An immediate solution is to be be aware of where they buy from and not advocate or purchase from farms that infringe on human rights.
Food buyers and supermarkets worldwide earn in upwards of $4 trillion per year, yet many of the individuals behind the scenes of this massive profit live in extreme poverty.
Many farm laborers are not paid a fair hourly wage but instead are paid by the piece, making it nearly impossible to even earn anywhere near minimum wage.
This is a far cry from U.S. commerce and corporate giants who stuff their pockets full of annual revenue.
Working long hours for little pay, receiving no medical benefits and workers who are often unable to put enough food on their own table is not the face of production the industry wants us to see.
It is hard to hear that conditions such as below poverty wages, child labor, high accounts of sexual harassment among women workers and even enslavement still occur in the U.S. It is a hard fact to swallow, but it is overwhelmingly true.
Like many, when you have to adhere to a strict budget it is sometimes hard to hand pick your preferences at the market. But even if we can’t always afford what we like, we can select to be more aware of our choices and question our responsibility in regard to consumption.
Choosing fresh foods with the best intentions – for health and sustenance – is no longer enough for the consumer market. We have to look beyond our own plates, take action and truly consider the source of our foods.
For more about the film’s background check out discussions with the creators on Indiewire.
All images are via Food Chains Film.
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