From Harvest of Shame to Harvest of Hope | Pesticide Action Network
Reclaiming the future of food and farming

From Harvest of Shame to Harvest of Hope

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Farmworkers, farmers and eaters have joined together to change the face of U.S. agriculture. The Fair Food Project focuses on both the serious need for change as well innovations leading that change—bringing wholesome food and farming back home, to our tables, one family farm at a time.    

There’s no better time to celebrate and recognize these innovators than Thanksgiving, and this one in particular.

Fifty years ago on Thanksgiving families around the country watched Edward R Murrow’s documentary, Harvest of Shame, depicting the blatant exploitation, abject poverty and deplorable conditions under which U.S. farmworkers lived and worked. Today’s version of the film would tell an all-too-similar horror story about industrial agriculture — two million farmworkers excluded from the protections afforded other workers, earning an average $10,000 a year, often with despicable housing, facing ten times the risk of pesticide poisoning than non-agricultural workers, high rates of certain cancers, birth defects and learning disabilities including ADHD.

Agribusiness corporations profit handsomely from this dominant mode of production: heavy use of highly toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and antibiotics; destruction and loss of soil; and the disproportionate production and consumption of high-fructose corn syrup instead of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. But the times, they are a changing …

At Pesticide Action Network we plan to celebrate this Thanksgiving by supporting the fair food innovators at the forefront of the new food revolution—from those featured in the Fair Food Project such as the Agricultural Justice Project and Food Alliance, to others like Protected Harvest helping farmers attain sustainable production goals.

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Kathryn Gilje's picture
Kathryn Gilje /
Here's a good resource to check out holiday baking items for how they rank re. worker rights: It's put together by the Food Chain Workers Alliance.
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Pesticide Action Network
Pesticide Action Network

is dedicated to advancing alternatives to pesticides worldwide. Follow @pesticideaction