Ethical eating is about more than the animals, it’s about human rights

There are two parts to may daily life. One lives in this blog, in my Instagram and in my foodie life.

In the other half of my world, where I got to work from 9-6 five days a week. w\Where I sit at a desk answering e-mails and phones calls. In this half, the political actions of the current administration are HUGE. What many of you do not know is that I am a legal assistant at an immigration law firm in the heart of DC. Today’s news hit home. I watched thousands of families fear for their lives and experience a loss of human rights. While I don’t see my blog as a political platform, I do see it as a way to connect these two parts of my life.

Since the inauguration, the current administration has been rolling out executive orders. These policies  are threatening peoples livelihoods and even their lives. However, for most life has continued as per usual. While many of us are shocked and angered by the policy being produced by the White House, we are still eating, drinking, cooking and shopping.

When I started this blog, and made “ethical eating” a part of the way I live it was mainly because of what I had learned about animal treatment and food production. I do find the production practices of large-scale farming to be flawed, and for that reason I do not eat animal products.

There is however, another connection that is just as important for us to be aware of, now more than ever.

Where does the food we eat come from? who does it come from?

Let’s talk about who produces the food we eat. Workers who pick strawberries in Washington state. Men and women who milk cows in Vermont and New York. The majority are migrant farm workers from Mexico and central America.

In recent years, many people have become aware of animal mistreatment, but it is rare for the media to showcase the human abuse. And why would we consider it? It shows a terrible side of US economics and agriculture.

Migrant farmworkers are the reason we can buy organic strawberries for $4 per lb or a carton of milk for $1.50. Back-breaking labor with low wages and farm owners who do not care about their workers. This is one of the reasons our politics are where they are, but they don’t have to be.

Food, Politics and DACA

The T****p administration just repealed DACA – a US policy put in place to help unaccompanied youth immigrants stay in the U.S. to attend school and work. This action, follows countless other immigration policies that have been rolled out since the start of the year. These policies are terrifying to so many people, yet so many of us don’t know how to help or where to start.

Yes, organizing and donating money are important, but so are our daily choices such as where we shop, what we buy. I don’t buy organic berries because I know that Driscoll is one of the worst when it comes to worker treatment, and I would rather eat a conventional berry than know I contributed to the perpetuation of racism and classism in this country.

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This is a heavy topic, and it probably made some people feel uncomfortable. But the people affected by these policies are past uncomfortable, they are in fear of their lives. So I just want to ask that you think about these things. Maybe buy the organic berries, but write a letter to Driscoll. Awareness and education are the key to  changing the way society think and acts. Our common bond is food. So I am going to do my best to educate and spread awareness of how immigration and politics connect with our food choices.

I truly believe “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” – Desmond Tutu. This is my first action, but not my last. I will continue to speak up for what is right.

Please comment, e-mail, or message me on Instagram (@the.cleanplateclub). I would love to hear other peoples thoughts and ideas on this.

This is a list of resources and books from which I have learned and that I continue to follow:
  • Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: an ethnography focused on berry pickers in WA & CA; demonstrating how racism, power and consumerism collide;
  • Migrant Justice: An organizing group in VT focused on economic justice and human rights for dairy workers;
  • United We Dream: the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. Find a regional group near you.
  • Supporting DACA recipients: click here for ways you can help
  • Boycott products from big agriculture. Know who really owns and sells the products you buy. Check out this map.

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