An invisible essential labor force
How the migrant women farmworkers who put food on our tables are organizing for a better life after the pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic, there’s been an outpouring of public support for essential workers. But this has largely excluded migrant women farmworkers, despite their vital role in keeping food on American families’ tables.
Monica Ramirez is working to change that.
“I’m the first generation in my family that didn’t have to work in the fields to make a living,” Ramirez told me. “So I was raised to be part of this movement and fight on behalf of my community.”
Who is hungry in America? The pandemic has changed the answer.
Before the pandemic, rates of food insecurity in the United States had been declining during the longest economic expansion in the country’s history. The percentage of households that were food insecure for at least some portion of the year had dropped from 14.9% in 2011 to 10.5% in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
But within those households, that still represented 35.2 million Americans worried about a low-quality diet or even when they would get their next meal.