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The Hands That Feed Us

We are encouraged to know where our food comes from but have you thought about who makes our food? Food workers are employed in production, processing, distribution, retail, and service sectors and represent the largest percentage of our work force. Food sector workers have universally poor wages and working conditions. Low wages, long work hours, poor benefits, lack of mobility, employment law violations, exposure to hazards characterize food sector working conditions.

Wages and Working Conditions of Food Sector Workers:

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What can you do?

1. Support responsible food system employers who provide livable wages, benefits, and advancement opportunity and who provide sustainable food.

2. At every food purchase, speak to employees and employers about working conditions at their place of business. Let the employers know consumers care about working conditions.

3. Let policymakers know that food sector working conditions are important. Speak about increasing the minimum wage, access to health benefits including paid sick days, preventing wage theft, and exposure to health hazards.

ROC (Restaurant Opportunities Centers) National Diners Guide helps determine which restaurants provide a living wage and fair working conditions. There are currently no restaurants listed for Nevada. Why not suggest that your favorite local restaurant join this movement? http://rocunited.org/dinersguide/

Full report: http://foodchainworkers.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Hands-That-Feed-Us-Report.pdf

Lisa Hill M.A., R.D.

Member, Washoe County Food Policy Council