Migrant Labor

After providing an introductory framework to understand the food production chain and a historical perspective of food production workers in the United States, this entry provides a descriptive overview of migrant laborers, foreign- and native-born, in food production. Even though native-born make up the majority of these workers, the foreign-born are disproportionately employed in food services. The United States has historically depended on migrant labor with a preference for a “birds of passage” policy that does not encourage full citizenship for these workers.

The Food Production Chain

Food production is the result of the application of human labor and technology to edible natural resources found in land and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies four steps in the food production chain: production, processing, ...

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