Food for thought: Is “local food” really local?

My friend Vincenzo Pietropaolo has been documenting the hard lives of migrant farm workers since 1984. It is a thoughtful and poignant work that Vince has just published in the guise of his latest book,  Harvest Pilgrims.

“Like migratory birds, most of Canada’s 20,000 “guest” farm workers arrive in the spring and leave in the autumn. Hailing primarily from Mexico, Jamaica, and smaller countries of the Caribbean, these temporary workers have become entrenched in the Canadian labour force and are the mainstay of many traditional family farms in Canada. Many of them make the trip year after year after year.”

In it—and so germane to the theme of Mixed Farmin’—Pietropaolo poses among other questions, the following:

If local food, which has been the fashionable darling of urban foodies these past few years, depends on workers flying here from the Caribbean and Latin America to harvest it for market (because they are the only ones willing to subject themselves to such labour for minimum wage) is it really local?

Good question!

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