'Food Chains' Documentary Reveals the Human Cost in Our Food Supply

Featured in a Bernie Sanders ad, the film tells the remarkable story of a group of farmworkers who took on the powerful supermarket industry—and won.

The farmworkers who sow, plant and pick the food we enjoy are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved—all within the borders of the United States.

The documentary film "Food Chains," which won the 2016 DocImpact Award, reveals the true labor cost in our food supply, which is covered up by large buyers of produce like fast food companies and supermarkets.

In this exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which forges partnerships with both food retailers and farmers to help improve the working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.

Supermarkets are a bigger industry than fast food—earning $4 trillion globally. Over the past three decades, they have left farmworkers in poverty and forced them work under subhuman conditions. Yet many take no responsibility for this.

You may recognize Food Chains footage from the recent Bernie Sanders campaign ad Tenemos Familias.

The story behind the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida who are revolutionizing farm labor, is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed. It reveals how the concept of "fair food" can be a reality.

For National Farmworker Awareness Week (March 24–31) the Food Chains team is hosting 45 screenings across the country at universities, community centers and various organizations. In New York City, I spoke with director Sanjay Rawal about what the film has accomplished so far and how we can be more concious consumers. 





Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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