By Marty Dagoberto, NOFA/Mass Policy Director

As the national industrial food supply chain faces incredible threats during this pandemic and we continue to support local, organic and sustainable agriculture, we must also use our voices to act in solidarity with food system workers nationwide who are truly frontline heroes.

This month we are signal-boosting action alerts from partner organizations Food Chain Workers AllianceUnited Farm Workers, and a critical call for support from the Mashpee Wampanoag.

Action 1: Food Workers are Not Disposable, Tell Congress: #ProtectAllWorkers from Food Chain Workers Alliance:

“Food workers from farm workers to processing, warehouse, and retail are still on the job providing essential services even as COVID-19 spreads. Yet, employers are still refusing to provide workers with basic protections, putting workers’ lives at risk every day.

It is unconscionable that OSHA has refused to issue mandatory health and safety standards for employers that require companies to protect frontline food chain workers and other workers at risk. Without these requirements, companies can continue to evade responsibility for worker deaths and exposure to illness.”

Please sign this petition from the Food Chain Workers Alliance calling on Congress to protect workers and compel OSHA to act: As always, for maximum impact, pick up the phone and call your members of Congress about this issue after you sign the petition.

Please also visit the website of the Food Chain Workers Alliance for more information about their work and to support them with a donation.

Action 2: Stop the Trump administration from lowering farm worker wages during COVID-19 from United Farm Workers:

The Trump administration is trying to cut minimum wages for the essential farm workers keeping our domestic food supply functioning. Within hours of this story breaking, Kamala Harris took to Twitter to condemn it as “inexcusable” and said “They deserve a raise — not a pay cut.” Elizabeth Warren tweeted: “This is shameful. Make no mistake: We will fight for farmworkers with everything we’ve got.” Join us and let’s fight with everything we’ve got.

Please sign this petition to Speaker Nancy Pelosi from United Farm Workers and then consider calling your member of Congress to underscore your message. 

Action 3: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Solidarity Support from Mashpee Wampanoag:

“The Mashpee Wampanoag people are the people that welcomed the first white settlers. They have inhabited their land for over 12,000 years. They only have 321 acres left to call home and the Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to take it away. We have a responsibility to stop this.

On Friday, March 27 at 4pm they received a call saying that their tribe was to be disestablished and their land taken out of the trust. On this same day, the U.S reached 100,000 COVID-19 cases. The tribe is struggling to take care of their people during this crisis and now they must fight for their home on top of it. In the middle of all of this, their very existence is being threatened.”

We at NOFA/Mass share the view of the Mashpee Wampanoag that “Land is sacred,” and we recognize the indigenous roots of the agroecological/sustainability movements. We all have an ethical responsibility to stand together to protect the land/culture of the “People of the First Light.”

This is a link that will bring you to a letter from the Mashpee Wampanoag chairman describing this assault.

This link will bring you to their petition. Please sign so they can reach their goal of 300,000 signatures to send to the Senate and the House of Representatives in support of HR.312, a bill that will reaffirm their reservation.

For the latest NOFA/Mass Action alerts, please visit our action page

COVID-19 Resource: Protecting Yourself without Toxic Sanitizers and Disinfectants

From our friends at Beyond Pesticides – “The New York Times reports an increase in calls to poison control centers regarding illnesses resulting from use or misuse of toxic disinfectants during the pandemic… Fight the coronavirus with common sense prevention and safer disinfection products. Avoid products that increase vulnerability to respiratory problems.” Find out more, here.