Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving: Supermarkets And Fair Food

Source: Food Chains Trailer

With the Thanksgiving holiday less than a week away, many schools around the country enter into conversations with their students about being grateful for what they have, showing gratitude to others, and starting food drives for the less fortunate. The heightened awareness, while noble, should be an ongoing conversation about empathy year round, and not slotted into a month where we overindulge with too much food.

Source: Food Chain$
So this year, we chose to talk to our students about who supplies their food. We did not mean which grocery store. We posed the question: What does it mean "from farm to table"? Kids have mixed messages about farm life from rosy images in picture books, nostalgic views in commercials, or pumpkin picking during October in contrived environments for entertainment. We wanted them to know more about the people who supply fresh food to markets and manufacturers.

We showed our students the movie trailer for the new film Food Chain$, produced by Eva Longoria, that premieres around the country starting today. The full length film hopes to raise awareness about the human cost in supplying food and the plight of the farmworkers who endure the backbreaking labor to get it to us. While we may not be able to see the entire movie with our students, the trailer provides enough information for teachers to open up a discussion about the role of large supermarket chains in determining the price of food.



The power supermarkets have over revenue in the agricultural system is enormous. Supermarkets earn $4 trillion globally. Their drain on the revenue from the food supply chain has left farmworkers in poverty, while retaining huge profits for the corporations. Many farmworkers endure harsh work conditions, and in extreme cases, they have been held in debt bondage, or modern day slavery.

Many schools, including ours, participate in fundraisers for charities and causes, and we applaud all that educators and students do to help, but hopefully by raising awareness about fair food programs, we can collectively help break the chain. It's a fair trade for one of life's necessities.

For more information, please see: Food Chain$: The Revolution In America's Fields.

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