June 9th is National Farm Workers day! The National Farmers Union (NFU) commemorates this day because we know that, from seed to table, farm workers keep Canadian agriculture running. Farm workers are the often unsung heroes of our food system, taking on the physically demanding work of preparing fields, seeding, harvesting, raising livestock and processing the food that fuels Canada. The NFU strongly supports efforts to improve working conditions for all farm workers, both migrant and domestic.
Crises facing Canadian agriculture – dwindling farm income, climate chaos and labour shortages aggravated by worsening conditions – are felt acutely by farm workers. Low-wages, precarious employment, exclusion from standard labour protections, a lack of quality and affordable rural housing, among other challenges, keep many in the industry in a state of perpetual precarity.
That’s why farm workers are getting organized to have a seat at the table. A unified voice for workers will strengthen capacity to promote shared interests in fair wages, local food, food security, land stewardship, and healthy livelihoods for all.
In the fall of 2021, the NFU’s membership voted in favour of creating a new membership type for farmworkers – both domestic and migrant. We, NFU farm workers, have since organized and are in the process of establishing a working group. We are exploring our collective voice, and how to use it to contribute to workers’ rights, migrant rights, and justice movements. We know we’re stronger together, and we’re determined to push industry standards to create conditions where farm workers can not merely survive, but thrive. There is no shortage of interested, motivated people interested in farm work. There is a shortage of living-wage positions and dignified conditions.
Today, on National Farmworker Day, we encourage all eaters to review the National Farmers Union – Ontario’s Reframing the Farm Labour Crisis report. We also lend our solidarity to migrant workers and call for status for all! Please sign here!