Justice Issues Facing Family-Scale Farmers and Their Laborers in the Northeastern United States
In 2016, Dr. Tania Schusler and I published a piece in the Journal or Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development that built upon the survey data collected for my dissertation research, examining more deeply their implications for farmers and laborers within the Northeastern United States.
This study investigates how justice-related issues affect farmers and workers on organic farms in the northeastern United States. At the study’s core is an examination of the current context of laborers in organic agriculture in the U.S. Northeast. The study analyzes the results of an online survey of Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) farmer members to gather information about who labors on organic farms in the NOFA network and what unique justice issues they face. The survey results indicate that most of the farms within the network are small-scale and rely heavily on family members and volunteers for labor. Many of the justice issues related to labor arise from the difficulties these farmers experience achieving financial viability. This study increases understanding of the broader systemic context within which small-scale organic farmers make their commitments and decisions, and it illustrates how the justice-related experiences of both farmers and workers are affected by participation as small-scale organic farms in the larger agricultural system.