As with so many questions, the answer is a resounding “it depends”:
[M]ost farmworkers work long, hard hours under circumstances most Americans wouldn’t put up with. In addition to undertaking dangerous and highly repetitive tasks in the hot sun, modern farmworkers have been stripped of basic rights, harassed, held against their will, and deprived of breaks and pay.
Do these grim realities apply on all farms? Surely small and organic farms—-the ones you see at your local farmers market-—offer workers a better living under humane circumstances. Don’t they?
Anecdotally, the answer is a resounding yes. Many small-scale producers pride themselves on treating their employees well. But dig a little deeper, and it gets complicated, fast.
Twilight Greenaway writes about the Agricultural Justice Project and their “Food Justice Certified” label.