Links & Resources: Workers and the Food System

With these reports, books, statistics and multimedia on labor in the food system, learn more about the challenges facing food workers.


For additional scholarly articles and reports, see recently released documents via a curated online search.


The Hands that Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain. The Food Chain Workers Alliance, 2012.

Bad Jobs in Goods Movement: Warehouse Work in Will County, IL. Warehouse Workers for Justice, 2010. 

Human Rights from Field to Fork: Improving Labor Conditions for Food-Sector Workers by Organizing across Boundaries. Lo, Joann and Jacobsen, Ariel. Indiana University Press, Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, Vol. 5, No. 1, Autumn 2011, pp. 61-82.

Green Jobs in a Sustainable Food System. Green for All, 2012.

Lessons Learned: Solutions for Workplace Safety and Health. Kriebel, David and Jacobs, Molly M.; Markkanen, Pia; and Tickner, Joel. Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2011.

Unity for Dignity: Expanding the Right to Organize to Win Human Rights at Work. Excluded Workers Congress, 2010.

Twenty-Three Years and Still Waiting for Change: Why It’s Time to Give Tipped Workers the Regular Minimum Wage. Allegretto, Sylvia A. and Cooper, David. Economic Policy Institute, 2014.

Building the Case for Racial Equity in the Food System. Giancatarino, Anthony and Noor, Simran. Center for Social Inclusion, 2014.

Why Walmart Can’t Fix the Food System. Food & Water Watch, 2012.

Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities . Bernhardt, Annette et al. National Employment Law Project, 2009.

The 2010 California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. Fair Labor Association, 2012.

Behind the Kitchen Door: A Multi-Site Study of the Restaurant Industry. Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, 2011.

Report on the Youth Labor Force. Herman, Alexis M. U.S. Department of Labor, 2000.

Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2001-2002. U.S. Department of Labor, 2005.

Fingers to the Bone: United States Failure to Protect Child Farmworkers. Tucker, Lee. Human Rights Watch, 2000.

Child Labor Requirements in Agricultural Occupations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (Child Labor Bulletin 102). U.S. Department of Labor, 2007.


Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. Estabrook, Barry. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011.

Behind the Kitchen Door. Jayaraman, Saru. Cornell University Press, 2013.

Data, Statistics & Laws

Farm Labor Overview. Economic Research Service, updated February 14, 2013.

Employment and wages for the highest and lowest paying occupations. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012.

Occupational Employment Statistics. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014.

Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. United States Department of Labor.


The Hands That Feed Us Video Series
This three-part series from the Food Chain Workers Alliance features workers throughout the food system telling their stories with narration and information from the FCWA report The Hands that Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain. Part I covers health and safety issues in the workplace and the lack of paid sick days. Part II is about long hours and low wages, and Part III looks at discrimination faced by workers in the food system. All videos are in both English and Spanish, and Chinese subtitles are also available.

TEDxFruitvale Video: Joann Lo speaks on Organizing Workers in the Food Chain
Joann Lo, Executive Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, shares stories of low-wage workers in the food system and her work in organizing for worker justice.

Behind the Kitchen Door Book Trailer
This promotional video for the book Behind the Kitchen Door is a short and simple visual explanation of the challenges faced by food service workers.

Food Chains Film Trailer
Food Chains is a documentary about workers in the food system and features the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Eric Schlosser, Dolores Huerta, Barry Estabrook and other major voices for food system workers.

Farmworker Justice: Stories from the Field
This photojournalism project is produced by David Bacon for Farmworker Justice. The aim is to give voice to the 2 million farmworkers and their families who would otherwise not be heard.

La Campesina Network
A national Spanish-language radio station geared toward farmworkers and the problems they face in the industry.

Updated 9/2014