Panel Discussion: Labor in the Food System & Networking

When & Where
Consulate General of the Netherlands
120 Kearny St # 3100
sSan Francisco, CA 94104
June 19, 2014 - 6:00pm
510 654 4400

Labour in the Food System
How to ensure an equitable food system for all

Join us for this interactive panel with individuals who work hard every day in creating a just and equitable food system for all, including those who literally feed us three times a day. We’ll explore how different players along the vertical food chain (farmers, suppliers, government,  are rethinking what makes our food truly sustainable.


James Cochran – Swanton Berry Farms
Gail Wadsworth – Executive Director CA Institute for Rural Studies
Margaret Reeves – Equitable Food Initiative & PANNA
Paul Ramirez – Agriculture Coordinator & Investigator, SF Department of Labor


6.00 – 6.30 pm: Arrive & networking
6.30 – 8.00 pm: Moderated panel & audience Q&A
8.00 – 8.45 pm: Networking, food and drinks (catered by BiRite, plus yummy berries from Swanton Berry Farms in keeping with the evening’s theme!)

FOOD SYSTEM WORKERS are employed in some of the most labor-intensive industries within the entire economy, among them agricultural field work, food processing, food distribution, and restaurants of all kinds. In recent years, there have been several occurences of injustice to food system workers. We all remember this year’s fast food workers’ strikes demanding fair pay and fair working hours.

For farm workers, the poverty rate is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees combined, and it’s higher than that of any other general occupation. Additionally, there is the issue of overuse of pesticides and antibiotics on farms, and the resulting disastrous effects on farm workers’ health.

The food processing industry also has its share of issues: long hours, inhalation of noxious fumes caused by excessive use of harsh chemichals in meat processing plants, and unsanitary work place conditions. And finally, restaurant workers at the end of the food chain, in addition to being paid wages that have remained unchanged since 1991, bring it all close to home when they are denied paid time off or sick pay: restaurant workers routinely come to work sick out of fear of losing their jobs.