Labor & trade

farmer in field
Does it matter whether an heirloom tomato is local and organic if it was harvested with slave labor? — Eric Schlosser

Truly sustainable food systems ensure the well-being of farmers, farm workers and other food producers.

Exploitation of workers is not the only threat to sustainable food systems. Immigration policies have led to labor shortages causing many farms to close. As much as 70 percent of agricultural labor in the United States is done by illegal workers, emphasizing the need for improved immigration laws.

You can support fair labor practices by purchasing imported products that are certified "fair trade" by a third party, such as TransFair USA or IMO. Look for fairly traded coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, sugar, rice, and vanilla.

In 2012 two PCC farms earned domestic fair trade certification from the Agricultural Justice Project. They were the first farms certified in the Northwest.

More about: cool, Fair Trade, farmworkers, sustainable food