Organic farmers face a unique set of challenges, many of which revolve around the critical issue of labor. As I delved into the CCOF Labor Survey, a common theme emerged—a call for a guest worker program that supports the needs of both farmers and farmworkers. CCOF members vocalized the need for a guest worker program that is accessible, especially for small-scale farmers, and that supports the livelihoods of farmworkers.
The lack of access to labor is a pressing concern for many organic farmers, particularly during crucial stages of the growing season. The seasonal nature of agriculture creates challenges in securing a consistent workforce. Through the labor survey, some CCOF members expressed concern about how previous guest worker programs led to the mistreatment of guest workers. For this reason, several CCOF members emphasized that an effective guest worker program should safeguard the rights and well-being of guest workers and ensure that they are treated equitably and compensated fairly. Importantly, many members emphasized the need to invest in a resilient farmworker workforce that can support the organic agricultural industry.
By advocating for a guest worker program that benefits farmers and farmworkers, CCOF members are actively nurturing the growth of a sustainable and resilient agricultural future.