As you are shopping, prepping and preparing your Thanksgiving meals, we'd like you to know a little more about the work behind every ingredient and the people doing that work.

Here's a thread for everyone who wants to thank a farm worker this week. #WeFeedYou
Many wine grape workers are paid piece rate, a set amount per unit harvested. Piece rates make heat dangerous as workers are less likely to take breaks. Fortino works under a union contract with @SteMichelle, a WA employer that takes worker safety (including heat) very seriously.
Esteban is paid minimum wage for his work in muddy, wet fields cutting pumpkin vines. Other workers will collect and sort the pumpkins by size.

Pumpkin (like okra and cucumber) has tiny hairs on the vines that are irritating to the skin and eyes.
Asparagus requires delicate handling and a grueling posture. Harvesters have a high rate of repetitive strain injuries. This video is of an asparagus worker from Gonzalez, CA.

Ricardo sent this video of the sweet potato harvest in Mississippi. At least it wasn’t hot, but the conditions after a heavy rain were cold, wet and very muddy.
Mayita shared this photo taken in the sweet potato fields of California. Her youngest daughter wanted a picture in the fields to show she was proud of her mom being a farm worker and proud of how hard she worked to invest in her children’s opportunities. Image
Edgar sent us this video from where he was harvesting celery in Oxnard CA. It was pouring rain when he took this video, but he and his co-workers were working as fast as they could, since this work is piece rate compensation.
Here’s where we pause to remind you: we say #WeFeedYou because you’d have nothing on that Thanksgiving table without farm workers.

Supporting us during the season of thanks and giving will help fund change all year long.
DONATE HERE: ufw.org/tg2021_t Image
Cranberries are harvested by 2 methods- wet or dry. In the wet method (shown) the bog is flooded and the bushes agitated so the buoyant berries float.

As @NomeDaBarbarian can explain, when the bog is flooded the workers are “high ground” for the spiders living in the bushes. 🙃 Image
Fernando shared this video of the cilantro harvest near Oxnard CA. He earns around $2 per box of 60 bunches. He is incredibly, remarkably fast and skilled. (Those are twist ties at his ankles.)
Maritza and Carlos are a husband wife team in Ducor CA. They are paid around $30 per 900lb bin of citrus they pick. At the end of their day they’re tired and dirty but are glad they’ve been able to work together to provide for their family. ImageImage
We’ll be adding to this thread, but in the meantime let us know any questions you have or what ingredients you want to see.

Here’s a piece from one of our friends who really enjoyed farm worker Thanksgiving twitter last year. msnbc.com/all-in/watch/c…
Many green bean varieties are durable enough to be largely harvested by machines, but specialty varieties are more likely to be harvested by hand in a process similar to this. (Video is snap peas from Salinas, CA.)
Those pretty organic heirloom carrots you’re going to roast may well be packaged right in the fields, by farm workers moving up-and-down the rows on their knees.
This is an onion harvest in Indiana, which (like most states) does not have heat or shade requirements. Harvesting means 12 hour days.

@OSHA was tasked with creating a federal heat standard last month, and it’s urgent!
In this video from OR, Joaquin is dumping out bags of onions after they dried in burlap bags. He’s pouring them into rows for the machine that will collect them.

During the deadly 2021 PNW ‘heat dome’ temps here reached 118.
Garlic is another ingredient from the flavorful Allium family. Gabino sent us this video from Arvin, CA where he was working in the garlic harvest. The high was 101° on this day, and sometimes they move to nocturnal harvest due to extreme heat.
Beyond piece rates, a “pre-existing condition” for farm workers & heat illness is immigration status.

Workers who are afraid of retaliation and who have a reasonable mistrust of government agencies are WAY more vulnerable to exploitation. Senators— #BuildBackBetter. Protect us. Image
Jose Luis shared his days’ work in Coachella CA. He earns $12/ okra basket. On this day it was 109°.

Even pre-covid, we cover our faces at work to protect against irritants and toxins. Pesticides, dust, fungal spores or crop debris (like tiny hairs on okra vines) damage lungs. Image
Squash grow on a fuzzy vine, too. Odulia shared this video from where she was harvesting squash in Selma. Video from 2017 (pre-pandemic) but you’ll see many workers masked up against debris, pesticides, dust etc.
Climate justice is labor justice.

Look at the conditions for these carrot workers. When the air quality is poor from nearby wildfires, public health agencies advise people to stay indoors and filter the air. 🙃
Charrito shared this video of the apple harvest in Wenatchee WA. This is also piece rate work. Workers in this region are paid between $25 - $30 per 900 lb bin depending on the variety of apple.
Mashing potatoes? Bea lives in Pasco WA where she works getting the potato crop underground for winter storage. She bundles up to keep warm, as the ideal storage temperature inside is just above freezing. Image
Lettuce all be mindful of where that salad came from. Yuliana shared this video in the lettuce harvest of Salinas CA. Known as the Salad Bowl of the World, the area is famous for fresh produce.
(sorry about the puns but we can’t promise to stop)
This beehive was spotted while Camilla and her crew were out working in the San Joaquin Valley. They left it alone and just worked around this tree. (#WeFeedYou but bees feed you, too!) Image
This worker is paid around $1.95 per crate of 60 radishes— she never stopped working through the pandemic. This is how hard we expect the Senate to work passing #BuildBackBetter with real immigration relief included. (Tag those Senators!) #WeAreHome
Pecans fall when they ripen. A hydraulic machine is often used to shake the trees, bringing the ripe pecans down to be collected. As harvest nears, workers clear a 15ft circle around the tree so they’re easy to gather. Here’s a video of pecan tree shaking.
(now imagine if they shook a tree with all those bees YIKES) Image
Brenda sent this video of a nocturnal cherry harvest near Wenatchee WA during a record-breaking heat wave. The heat is dangerous, but so is working in the dark. Ladders and moving equipment are hazards… but it’s also rattlesnake country.
Andres is bringing in the almond harvest in Bakersfield CA, in @GOPLeader McCarthy’s CA-23 district.

Unlike his Congressman, when Andres spends 8+ hours doing something it isn’t a giant annoying waste of everyone’s time. #BuildBackBetter Image
What foods do you want to learn more about? (While we’re replying, you can make a donation to support our work towards a fairer food system.) ufw.org/tg2021_t
Beer drinkers here’s one for you. Luis sent this video of the freshly harvested hops cones being prepared for drying. Careful, skilled management is required to prevent them from mildew or other damage. (It’s impossible to describe the smell.)
A sea of spinach.

Lalo sent this from Yuma, AZ. He brought a drone to his worksite to show us the sheer scale. Lalo is one of @SenatorSinema’s constituents.
Last summer, 16 year old Serena worked with her mom during cherry season. They were paid around 20 cents a pound or roughly $100 per bin this size. ImageImage
Indiana strawberry harvester, age 7. Photo is from 2018. Image
This CA celery harvest crew is all covered up. We wear long sleeves even when it’s hot.

Celery juice is considered “phytotoxic” since the juice is caustic when combined with skin and sunlight. Tip: don’t google “celery blisters” if you’re squeamish.
What will you decorate your holiday table with? Indra sent this video of the sunflowers in Colusa, California.
Raise your glass to Adelaida who tends wine grape vines in the Yakima Valley. It’s hot in summer and snowy and cold in the winter.

As a union leader, she especially outspoken about the protections a union contract provides to ensure men and women are treated fairly and equally. Image
Imelda shared this video of the kiwi harvest from Kern County CA. When she sent this video she was working 6 days / week, 9 hours / day without overtime pay.

Since then, we’ve won overtime equity for farm workers in California which is phasing in now.
Geronimo is shown here carrying irrigation pipe in the broccoli fields of the Salinas Valley. Thanks to the temperate weather broccoli can be grown here year round, providing stable work. Image
You can see how delicately Stephanie clips table grapes in CA's San Joaquin Valley.

Stephanie is urging the Senate to pass #BuildBackBetter so she could travel and see her parents again after 14 years. (Call your Senator!)
To harvest brussels sprouts, workers use a machete to chop the tough, woody stems and remove the sprouts.
Here’s after the brussels sprouts have been removed from the tough, thick stem and are being processed right in the field.
This is the kale harvest. If you’re serving collard greens tomorrow, the harvest is very similar. (When we say #WeFeedYou this is what we mean!)
One of our top fan-favorite champions is Charlie. He’s paid around 75 cents per bucket harvesting turnips. His incredible skill is obvious. It’s easy to cut yourself, it takes a sharp blade and lots of force. (@chrislhayes is a big fan of Charlie’s work.)
Sweet potatoes are sometimes unearthed by harvesting machines but still require sorting and cleaning by hand. (Same as regular potatoes.)

Here’s a video from Raquel who was sorting sweet potatoes in Livingston, CA.

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More from @UFWupdates

22 Sep
Just one day into farm workers’ march for Gov. @GavinNewsom’s signature, he has vetoed #AB616.

Workers are now marching towards the French Laundry, hoping to finally meet with the Governor.
Farm workers have been asking for a meeting with @CAgovernor since early June to discuss #AB616, without success.

AB616 would have allowed farm workers to form a union by casting a secret ballot in many of the same ways CA voters did in the recall. 2/
We will try again to meet with Gov. @GavinNewsom.

We will explain why this bill is as important to us as the Voting Choice Act was to the governor. #WeFeedYou
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
BREAKING: Farm workers are launching a 260 mile march for @CAgovernor’s signature on #AB616, the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act.
Starting under smoke-filled skies, the grueling march draws upon CA farm workers’ rich history and deep cultural and spiritual roots grounded in self-sacrifice. It will retrace much of the route as the historic Cesar Chavez-led 1966 march to Sacramento.
#AB616 would give farm workers the right to cast their ballot in many of the same ways that CA voters used to defeat the Republican-backed bid to oust Gov @GavinNewsom .
 
The 1975 ALRA allows workers to vote only at physical polling places, nearly always on growers’ property.
Read 10 tweets
6 Sep
Happy Labor Day.
Happy Labor Day. #WeFeedYou
Happy Labor Day. #WeFeedYou
Read 20 tweets
3 Jul
We often get asked why we cover our skin even in hot weather. Why do we need long pants, long sleeves and head/face coverings in 100+ weather?

Reason one: health experts advise anyone to dress in light layers to keep cool when working in the sun. (1/thread) #WeFeedYou
Even pre-covid, we covered our faces to protect ourselves from inhaled irritants and toxins. Pesticides, dust, or even crop debris such as the tiny hairs on okra vines can damage lungs. So can Valley Fever, a fungal infection caused by inhaled particles. aghealth.ucdavis.edu/news/research-…
Some crops are toxic in themselves, like tobacco. Handling fresh tobacco is hazardous — nicotine is readily absorbed through the skin and it is neurotoxic.

This is particularly dangerous to children (and yes it is legal for children to harvest tobacco). theatlantic.com/family/archive…
Read 10 tweets
28 Jun
WA does not require employers to provide us with the heat protections needed to save our lives. This must change.

It’s cherry season so conditions are incredibly dangerous. With labor needs at peak, workers from 12 years old to 70+ are out working. High tomorrow of 118° here. 1/
OR is in the process of creating better rules to protect us against heat injury, but the process won’t be finalized until September.

In the meantime, will farm workers die preventable deaths? These are unprecedented temperatures.
We are grateful to the volunteers helping us do emergency outreach, checking on worksites and distributing information, water and electrolytes.

Many are vineyard workers who are using a day off, helping migrant workers employed in other sectors. They shouldn’t need to do that.
Read 7 tweets
26 Jun
It’s peak cherry season in WA— so TEN MILLION pounds of cherries are being harvested each day, in this brutal, record-breaking heat wave.

Heat like this is hard on cherries and it’s even harder on the workers harvesting them. It’s terrifying.
(1/thread) seattletimes.com/seattle-news/w…
Cherries shrivel in extreme heat, so there’s pressure to harvest them as fast as possible.
Temps will reach 115* this week and even overnight it stays warm.

Heat like this can be fatal. In WA it’s legal to house workers in tents so the exposure is 24/7. nytimes.com/2020/08/12/mag…
Many folks know the risks and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. For most people, knowing what it takes to walk out the door and not die *today* is enough.

For us, it isn’t enough. The damage to our bodies is ongoing.
farmworkerjustice.org/blog-post/new-…
Read 10 tweets

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