Taking Responsibility for your Food Chain
Food Chain Slavery
I came across an unsettling investigative series recently. The series, produced by Al Jazeera, is called Slavery: A 21st Century Evil. It’s most recent segment focused on the slavery that still prevails in many of the world’s food chains with a particular focus on the indentured servitude of Thai workers at American plantations.
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According to estimates there could be as many as 50,000 food slaves in the United States today. These are generally foreign laborers lured to the United States with promises of good wages who are subsequently stripped of their passports, isolated and forced to work for next to no compensation. The series does a good job of pointing out the irony of American being the stage of this modernized resurgence of slavery considering the country’s divisive past fighting slavery. For a country that prides itself so much on the freedoms provided by its constitution there is quite a bit of abuse of these rights when it comes to the disenfranchised minorities that come to the country with hopes for a better life. The issue, however, is not limited to the United States and it takes more violent and oppressive forms in those countries where there is less oversight of labor rights and working conditions. This makes the enormity of the situation that much more terrifying.
Over the course of the investigation questions of responsibility arise. To what level are different actors in the scheme responsible for the use of slavery and where does the chain of responsibility end? To what level does that responsibility extend to the consumer of the goods produced under these conditions?
Of course, as consumers, we never ask for providers of fruit and vegetables to resort to slavery but the distances that have been created by the modern food chain do well to hide any inadequacies in processes of production. Furthermore, as we grapple with the deluge of information that we’re faced with on a daily basis it’s difficult to see and digest the connections of many of the world’s issues and how they relate personally to us.
It’s important that everyone sees the power of the agency of our choices as consumers and how they influence the lives of fellow human beings. This is why we believe that transparency should be at the very core of every business. Profit drives industry, but it doesn’t need to come at the cost of individual freedoms.
Nature & More
Using our traceability system and our sustainability flower, we hope consumers can truly see the positive impact that they’re having on both the environment and the people involved in producing the fruits and vegetables on your tables. We’d like our website to become a tool for encouraging the agency that will bring about a more carefully scrutinized food chain. We love that more and more producers are taking organic to a certain social standard that includes respecting individual freedoms.