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Concern Over 20 Million U.S. Food Workers' Challenges Growing

As the food movement continues to grow, food workers organizations are becoming an increasingly important stakeholder in that movement.

Interest in sustainable, local, organic, and healthy food has been growing tremendously in the past couple of decades. And now, due to the work of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, our member organizations, and many allies, concern about the challenges and opportunities facing food workers is growing. With close to 20 million people working in the food system in the U.S.—the largest private sector employer in the country—and half earning wages below the poverty line for a family of three, food workers have a crucial role to play in improving our economy and the food system.

The Food Chain Workers Alliance therefore set out to map all of the organizations in the U.S. that regularly interact with food workers. What do we mean by “regularly interact”? We define this as organizing, providing services for, and/or advocating on behalf of any sector of workers along the food chain.

We found that 75 are workers centers, 31 are advocacy groups, and 403 are service organizations (this latter number includes local offices of regional or statewide service agencies). These are all nonprofit organizations that depend on grants and donations to provide services such as job skills training, English and computer classes, as well as to develop workers into leaders and to work alongside food workers to organize to improve wages and working conditions.

As the food movement continues to grow, food workers organizations are becoming an increasingly important stakeholder in that movement—not only to win justice in the workplace, but to also transform the food system into one that is more sustainable for consumers, communities, and the environment. Your donation to these nonprofits will go a long way towards helping them reach these goals. Go to to see the full list of organizations and choose one to donate to!

This Thanksgiving, you can show your thanks to the millions of workers in the U.S. and around the world by celebrating International Food Workers Week with us.

GOOD is urging the community to resist the urge to volunteer around the holidays—the time of year when food banks and soup kitchens have more helping hands than they need. Join in volunteering smarter and commit to serving on a day when the need is far greater.

Photo via Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

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