Everyday there are new reasons that it is important to know where your food comes from. This phrase is generally used to encourage people to buy locally and directly from the farmer. It helps everyone. It helps small farmers make money. It helps consumers become aware of the impact their food decisions can have. It is becoming less and less socially acceptable for consumers to turn a blind eye to companies that treat their animals inhumanely. Pretending like you don’t know that your chicken came from a farm that stored thousands of chickens in a room with poor ventilation, no sunlight and barely enough room for the birds to touch the ground is not okay. Ignorance is not an excuse.
Buying locally helps local farmers and the economy and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation. But there are other issues at hand. Maybe the environment is not your issue. If that’s the case I am not sure how you got to my blog- but welcome. Knowing where your food is coming from can also help support farmers that pay a living wage and hire legal employees and do not hire children under the age of 12.
“The Department of Labor levied fines totaling more than $36,000 against eight growers in Michigan for violations of migrant housing and child labor laws — including an allegation of a 6-year-old picking blueberries — and retailers have already discontinued doing business with some of the companies.”
Hiring young children to work in the fields is not just a problem in other parts of the world. This is happening today, in the United States. According to the article, Tony Marr, general manager for Adkin Blue Ribbon, said that Adkin Blue Ribbon has policies in place to protect young children so he does not know how this happened. Marr also said that with the weakened US economy and the hire unemployment rate Adkin Blue Robbin is not experiencing a labor shortage. He also said that the schools that most of these child should have been attending were closed this week because of swine flu.
But even if these children were supposed to be in school and since school was closed had no where to go while their parents worked that does not explain why they were carrying buckets and seen picking blueberries in the field. They were not running around and playing in the fields.
By going to farmers markets and talking to farmers or joining a CSA you are helping prevent children from having to work until 9 p.m. in the fields picking berries. Even if you don’t think the environment is worth the extra money, maybe a kids childhood is worth it.