222132 Agricultural Justice Project: Emerging labor standards for sustainable agriculture

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 3:50 PM - 4:10 PM

Margaret Reeves, PhD , Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), San Francisco, CA
Standards and certification for sustainable agriculture have largely focused on production practices that provide environmental benefits. Fair trade labels have been adopted in international markets (e.g. coffee), but social justice standards have largely been absent in the U.S. food production system. The Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) is a non-profit initiative to create fairness and equity in our domestic food system through the development of social justice standards—for farm workers and farmers—for organic and sustainable agriculture. The AJP team—Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas/Farmworker Support Committee, Northeast Organic Farming Association, Florida Organic Growers/Quality Certification Services, and Fundación RENACE—worked for several years to develop a U.S. pilot project to test its social stewardship standards on the ground. Through outreach and collaboration, the group built relationships with farmers, retailers, non-profits, and farmworker organizations around the county who are interested in developing a model of a just food system. Its Upper Midwestern Pilot, launched in 2007 in Wisconsin and Minnesota, uses a unique approach to certification that includes in-depth interviews, incorporates community and worker participation, and allows for regional variability; plans are currently underway to develop a California pilot project. The project also provides opportunities for consumer education around occupational health and labor concerns in the U.S., and expansion of markets for domestic “fair foods.” The AJP provides a compelling example of a broadly collaborative effort to bring new labor standards to sustainable farming, thereby contributing to a more equitable food system in the U.S.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify at least three necessary elements for developing a social justice standard for sustainable agricultural production. Describe at least five ways that sustainable agricultural production combined with social justice addresses public health concerns from industrially produced food.

Keywords: Agricultural Work Safety, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an active, long-term partner with the principals of the project being presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.