Blessings on the Food, Blessings on the Workers: Arts-based Education for Migrant Worker Justice


  • Deborah Barndt FES, York University


Migrant agricultural workers are not only on the margins of Canadian and global food systems; they are also on the margins of public consciousness about the labour behind the food we eat. Even local food movement groups who advocate for both social justice and sustainable food production have not made migrant labour a priority concern. Popular education, based on Freirean problem-posing methods and Gramscian notions of engaging contradictions, can use arts-based approaches to tap both minds and hearts in efforts to mobilize food activists to work for migrant worker justice. This essay examines the potential and limitations of an installation of Mexican-style altars, entitled "Local Food/Global Labour," that aims to catalyze dialogue between food activists and labour activists around the issue of global migrant labour in local food production.

Author Biography

Deborah Barndt, FES, York University

Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University