Today is the kickoff for National Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW) – a week of action (March 25-31) for members of our community to raise awareness about farmworker issues. Student Actions with Farmworkers (SAF), along with other partner organizations and students, have prepared events that will highlight farmworkers in the United States and the many problems they face. These events will focus on farmworker health, living wages, safety, food insecurity, workers’ rights, mental wellness, and more. This year SAF is celebrating their 20th annual NFAW.
Farmworkers are a tremendous contributor to North Carolina’s communities and our economy. They provide our state with the food found in our grocery stores and on our tables. Their labor is needed to produce and harvest the crops that bring in billions of dollars to our state’s economy every year. With all of their contributions to our state, they remain one of the most economically disadvantaged and unprotected groups of laborers in North Carolina.
Some of the struggles for farmworkers include living in poverty, working in hazardous conditions, decreased wages, child labor, and hunger. This group of workers does backbreaking labor, since most of North Carolina’s crops require hand labor, and are still left without basic protections, without sufficient income to support their families, and without the security of workers’ compensation.
Each time you sit down in front of your dinner table full of fruits and vegetables, think of the people who worked in the fields where they came from, collecting the food that nourishes our bodies. As we enter into this week of awareness, may we remember the hands that harvested the food on our tables. When you think of those hands that may not be able to feed themselves and their families, perhaps think of this scripture verse:
It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops (2 Timothy 2:6).
Take some time out of your week during National Farmworker Awareness Week and find an event to honor the farmworkers in our nation and in our state. Click here to find an event near you. Also, join us on Facebook and Twitter every day this week for a NFAW post!