Is Your Food Grown by Oppressed Farmworkers?

Social injustice is all around us. With the age of COVID-19, we see it in the higher rates of illness in our most underserved communities. On a larger, everyday scale we see it in the exploitation of farmworkers we all rely on to produce our food. Of course, these are only two examples of many human rights issues that we all should be thinking about. We often make a mistake in thinking we’re too insignificant to help. We’re not politicians, lobbyists, philanthropists, so what could we possibly do? The answer is a lot—with each small step of activism we take, we send positive ripples out into our communities and the rest of the world. I was so excited to sit down with my good friend Kerry Kennedy to talk about human rights activism and how her family has historically been a part of producing positive social change. Kerry comes from a family that shows deep love for others through activism. She shares how this was passed down from her parents, Robert and Ethel Kennedy, and how that helped shape her life. The social injustice surrounding food and farmworkers is something I’m especially passionate about and really dug into for my last book, Food Fix. Kerry has been a powerful force in advocating for fair wages and benefits, such as time off, as well as protective measures like disability insurance, for this essential group of workers. We discuss some of the ways this population has historically been marginalized and how we can continue to push for equality in the present day. And of course, we touch on the topic of coronavirus. With all the negativity and worry surrounding the pandemic, it’s important to focus on what we might be able to gain from the experience. Kerry and I talk about the silver linings, like a greater appreciation for family, community, and a connectedness to nature. There are good things we can take out of this hard time if we harness the right energy. This is such an uplifting conversation. I hope you’ll tune in. Wishing you health and happiness, Mark Hyman, MD
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