In the blizzard of attention around the virtues of local food production, food writers and activists place environmental protection, animal welfare, and saving small farms at the forefront of their attention. Yet amid this turn to wholesome and responsible food choices, the lives and working conditions of farmworkers are often an afterthought.
Labor and the Locavore focuses on one of the most vibrant local food economies in the country, the Hudson Valley that supplies New York restaurants and farmers markets. Based on more than a decade’s in-depth interviews with workers, farmers, and others, Gray’s examination clearly shows how the currency of agrarian values serves to mask the labor concerns of an already hidden workforce.
She also explores the historical roots of farmworkers’ predicaments and examines the ethnic shift from Black to Latino workers. With an analysis that can be applied to local food concerns around the country, this book challenges the reader to consider how the mentality of the alternative food movements implies a comprehensive food ethic that addresses workers’ concerns.
Margaret Gray is Associate Professor of Political Science at Adelphi University.
Introduction: Is Local Food an Ethical Alternative?
1 • Agrarianism and Hudson Valley Agriculture
2 • The Workers: Labor Conditions, Paternalism, and Immigrant Stories
3 • The Farmers: Challenges of the Small Business
4 • Sustainable Jobs ? Ethnic Succession and the New Latinos
5 • Toward a Comprehensive Food Ethic Methodological Appendix