I spent the better part of the evening the other night watching a Frontline documentary video on the farm workers of California. The challenges they face are many during the Covid-19 pandemic. The fact that many are undocumented workers and yet considered essential workers having to keep the produce chain flowing to consumers across the US puts them at great risk.
What stood out among many were the fact that they are exploited and often treated no better than slaves, depending upon the corporate farming protocol during this time.
The quote that stood most and mentioned numerous times, “Most Americans have no idea what it takes for food to reach their plates.”
Ironically, the documentary focused on a few industries including the one I wrote about in a previously posted blog on “Broccoli.” I decided to update, repost and add a link to the one hour Frontline documentary, which I believe everyone needs to view so that they know what it is taking for food to reach their plates.
Read on for an edited and shortened versions of the previous post. And scroll down to the bottom for the video.
We never do anything by ourselves. We are all connected. If you think about how much we are all inter-connected we would be much kinder to one another. Take something as simple as a one single food group from a meal and trace the lineage of how it got to your table. It puts things into perspective.
In order to get a sense that we are indeed not alone, that we rely on one another I am going to trace the path of the broccoli that I ate last night. First, there is the person who brought the seed to the farm. Next there is the person who planted the broccoli seed. How about the family who raised the person who brought the seed and planted the seed? If it were not for them these two people would not be doing what they are doing. Then there is the person who picked the broccoli and someone had to box it. Who made the boxes where did they come from? Then there is the shipping, whether local or from overseas, either by truck of plane. Who drove the truck or flew the plane? Then there are the people who made the truck or plane. Finally arriving at the supermarket, somebody unloaded and placed the broccoli on the shelves for you to buy. Oh and don’t forget the check out person.
I know I have missed a step or two in the process, but think about all these people involved in just broccoli.
I’ve tracked one food group on the plate. Think about all the food groups on the plate and every single meal you have eaten up to this moment of your life. That’s food. What about things? Try tracking the lineage of one thing. You begin to realize that nobody in the grand scheme of things is any more important than anyone else. And we are all in it together to help one another.
Many people do not think in these terms and as a result end up exploiting others for their gain knowing they can get away with it. I would say this is the reason for the fight for a “living wage.”
A person picking the broccoli is just as important as the CEO of that company.
Now I do not always go around tracking the lineage of every item I come across. But I do it on occasion as a reminder that it is humbling knowing the truth that I have never done anything on my own and that I am not that important.