Subsidizing farmworker hunger: Food assistance programs and the social reproduction of California farm labor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Following Marx's theory of social reproduction, I argue that agribusiness benefits from food assistance programs that are available to farmworkers, as they assist workers minimally enough to keep laborers working in the fields, while distracting food assistance providers from the root causes of farmworker food insecurity. These programs simultaneously redistribute excess food that workers have labored over and cannot afford. Based on ethnographic fieldwork on California's Northern Central Coast, I outline how these programs act to reinforce structural food insecurity by ensuring that workers are provided with their most basic food needs. Although such approaches show evidence of providing crucial food for farmworkers in times of need, these programs ultimately allow agribusiness to feed their workers via charity, while maintaining low wages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalGeoforum
Volume57
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Farm labor
  • Food injustice
  • Food insecurity
  • Theory of social reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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