Things That Matter

‘The Humans Who Feed Us’ Is a Visual and Narrative Project That Aims To Humanize Migrant Farmworkers

Photo by Sheri Trusty

If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s how reliant we are on essential workers to keep our lives moving. And one group of essential workers that have been integral to all our lives this past year and a half is farmworkers. While we were stuck in our homes, worried about the future, only able to leave to buy food at the grocery store, farmworkers were still laboring the fields across the country, providing food to millions of Americans. But despite all this, farmworkers are still underappreciated.

But a new narrative and portrait project by Justice For Migrant Women is trying to change that. “The Humans Who Feed Us” attempts to humanize the people who put food on our tables.

Photo by Sheri Trusty

73% of farmworkers are immigrants and 83% of farmworkers are Latino. And even though they contribute so much to society, farmworkers are still underappreciated. America was built on the backs of farmworkers and migrant workers, but for as long as immigrants have been farming, they have been denied basic human rights. And that’s the problem: because of their ethnicity and/or immigration status, farmworkers are often dehumanized.

“The Humans Who Feed Us” is a narrative and portrait project organized by Mónica Ramírez, Founder & President of Justice For Migrant Women, created a narrative and portrait project called “The Humans Who Feed Us” in conjunction with her fellowship with the Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy (an initiative established by Race Forward).

The project aims to “demonstrate the connectedness between farmworkers, farmers, and consumers.” Through the stories and portraits of eight farmers and farmworkers, viewers can see the human soul behind the faceless manual labor of farming.

“The Humans Who Feed Us” debuted at the Sandusky County Fair and will expand to different parts of the country that rely on migrant workers as vital parts of their economies.

Photo by Sheri Trusty

“Despite the fact that farmworkers provide life sustaining work through their labor, farmworkers across the country are still denied basic rights and protections,” said Mónica Ramírez, President and Founder of Justice for Migrant Women in a press release. “What’s more, farmers and farmworkers touch the lives of consumers every day, but the general public does not have a full understanding of their vital contributions. Our project, “The Humans Who Feed Us,” will bring back the focus to be on the people – the humans – who work to feed us and our families everyday.”

Ramirez hopes that the project will inspire both lawmakers and everyday citizens to celebrate the contributions of essential workers more strongly.

“The Humans Who Feed Us” tells the real-life stories of individual migrant workers–stories that sometimes tug at your heartstrings.

Photo by Sheri Trusty

There is Filemon, who only sees his family in Mexico 3 months out of the year. “I live here with other farmworkers, and we feel isolated from the rest of the people in the city and county,” he says. There is also Efrain, who has worked as a farmworker for 45 years and continues to do so despite suffering from a stroke several years ago. All of these stories are relatable. All of these stories are human.

“These pictures and the stories that are highlighted through “The Humans Who Feed Us” project remind us whose hands we rely on for our food. Farmworkers, farmers, and all of us depend upon each other to survive and thrive,” said Jeff Chang of Race Forward’s Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy in a statement. “Farmworkers belong here.

If you are passionate about the supporting immigrants, essential, and migrant workers, we encourage you to contact your members of Congress asking them to pass legislation to protect them.

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