Book 4: Sustainable Santa Has a Book Suggestion for Every Conscientious Eater on Your Holiday List

 

Labor and the Local

 

Book 4: Labor and the Locavore by Margaret Gray

Santa here, back for Wee Barry Estabrook, who has fallen asleep at his desk, so I’ll take the opportunity to slip in another food book recommendation.

As the CEO of a worldwide company that gives its product away for free to all good boys and girls, Santa is well aware of how bottom-line realities can put pressure on worker wages and benefits. Nonetheless, Santa makes sure his elves make at least minimum wage, have full medical coverage, receive overtime, and have generous vacation schedules. He expects all farmers to follow his example.

Alas, Labor and the Locavore, Maggie Gray’s investigation of the growers who supply pretty products to New York City’s farmers’ markets, shows that those Carhartt-clad neo-agrarians under the pop-up tents hide an ugly reality: Unseen migrant laborers often do the real work. The men and women who tend and pick urbanites’ upscale fruits and veggies live anything but upscale lives, without benefits, overtime, medical insurance—or even a guarantee that they will make minimum wage. Naughty, naughty.

Give this book to all farmers’ market shoppers on your list and ask them to share what they learn with their favorite vendors.

Santa has more recommendations in his bag. He’ll be back with another book tomorrow.

Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic, by Margaret Gray, $29.95.

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