by Silvana Marr-Madariaga, 2015 SAF Fellow
Good Samaritan Clinic
As I first began debating what to do as a creative blog I thought a lot about narratives and creating space for farmworkers to share their own stories, identities, and thoughts. I considered carrying out a project centered on narratives and portraits, or perhaps stories and truths expressed through some type of short documentary. However, I kept thinking about the invisibility of farmworker and other worker narratives in relation to their product or harvest. By not connecting the worker to their work then it is neither seen nor given value.
Farmworkers put food on our tables and people often don’t consider who picked their fruit or planted their vegetables. It’s as if capitalism can bring you the perfectly shaped apple without the existence of a worker struggle that reaches back through agricultural history in the United States. It’s as if vegetables can appear in the store completely disconnected to farmworkers’ families struggling to buy those very vegetables that they labored over. This invisibility of history, hard work, and worker abuse makes that fruit or vegetable that much more edible.
Here are hand-written narratives from farmworkers I interviewed that I intentionally placed in the familiar context of the grocery store to push back against the systematic ways that workers and their rights are made invisible in the name of profit.