by John Light, Moyers & Company
The people who harvest our fruits and vegetables are, today, among the country’s most marginalized. They earn well below the poverty line and spend a substantial portion of the year unemployed. They do not have the right to overtime pay or to collective bargaining with their employers. In some cases, workers have faced abuses that fall under modern-day slavery statutes. “The extreme is slavery,” observed Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), while visiting farm workers in Florida. “The norm is disaster.” [..]
In 1960, legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow and his producers Fred Friendly and David Lowe attempted to draw public attention to this state of affairs with the documentary Harvest of Shame. The film – an hour-long portrait of the “humans who harvest the food for the best-fed people in the world” – aired on CBS the day after Thanksgiving, 1960.