3. Encourage our parishes to buy local farm products whenever possible for parish events.
4. Urge our state and federal legislators to introduce and co-sponsor legislation that supports small and mid-size family farms.
5. Join Catholic Rural Life and keep informed about state and national legislation that impacts family farms.
Now consider the plight of farmworkers – often more difficult and unjust than that of family farmers.
According to National Farm Worker Ministry, most farmworkers lack workers' compensation, health insurance and disability coverage, the right to overtime pay and the right to form unions and collective bargaining. Furthermore, they are often low-paid and exposed to dangerous pesticides.
And for farmworkers who are undocumented, their hardships are even worse.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor over 50 percent of the U.S.'s approximate 1 million farmworkers – farm labor advocacy groups put this figure at over 2 million – are undocumented. The undocumented have virtually no rights whatsoever. And they live, especially under the Trump administration, in constant fear of being deported back to very poor and dangerous places, and often having their families torn apart in the deportation process.
Fair, compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform legislation is desperately needed!
"Consciousness + Commitment = Change," is the proven axiom of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (see: http://www.ciw-online.org/about/) – a farmworker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in promoting social responsibility, and fighting human trafficking and gender-based workplace violence.
Its "Fair Food Program" of hard-won negotiated agreements between farmworkers, tomato growers – from Florida to New Jersey – and retail buyers like Subway and Whole Foods has gained for many farmworkers significant wage increases and decent working conditions.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, under the heading of "The Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal" insists that "The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race."
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May we have the moral courage to stand in solidarity with those who seek their fair share of the goods of creation.