Homegrown Hudson Valley

6 Ways You Can Support Local Farmworkers

Learn more about farmworkers and the issues they face — and how you can help


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Basement Bags are fair-trade totes constructed by the Rural Migrant Ministry’s Youth Economic Group to help support farmworkers

Do you want to learn more about farmworkers and how to help protect their rights? Rural Migrant Ministry (RMM) offers a number of suggestions:

  • Ask questions: When you visit farm stands and farmers markets, ask who picked the produce and how the farmworkers are treated. Start a dialogue with the farmer and express your concern with farmworker conditions.
     
  • Buy a market bag: Buy a fair-trade bag (like the Basement Bags above) made by RMM’s Youth Economic Group (YEG). The $35-$40 bags can be ordered online at www.ruralmigrantministry.org/youtheconomicgroup.html.
     
  • Educate yourself: One way to do this is by attending a Sowing Seeds of Justice symposium and dinner. The next one takes place in Rochester in October, and another one is planned for New York City next spring.
     
  • Visit with farmworkers: In the off-season, RMM organizes delegations that spend the day with farmworkers so you can hear their stories. Contact Laura Lecour at 845-485-8627.
     
  • Attend a fund-raising event: The YEG Fest takes place in support of Basement Bags, and includes live music, activities for kids, food, and demonstrations of tie-dying and the silk-screening process. July 20, 3-5 p.m. $50, under 19 free. Lazy Pond Bed & Breakfast, 79 Loomis Rd., Liberty. For more information, contact Katia Chapman at 845-485-8627.
     
  • Go to Farmworker Albany Day: Each spring, farmworkers and their friends gather in the state capital to express support for the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, which would guarantee farmworkers the right to overtime pay, one day of rest per week, and collective bargaining. 

Learn more about who farmworkers are here. Get more information about the Rural Migrant Ministry, based in Poughkeepsie, at www.ruralmigrantministry.org.

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