Food Provisioning Strategies Among Latinx Farm Workers in Southwestern Idaho

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Latinx farm workers are an essential part of the US agriculture and food (agrifood) system. Despite the centrality of Latinx farm workers for the production of commodities in the US, farm workers, and the communities they inhabit, are often unknown to the majority of the US population. In addition, there is a lack of scholarly research on the lived experiences of farm workers. This is an emerging body of scholarship on the well-being of farm workers. This scholarship covers a range of topics, including occupational safety and working conditions, differences in labor practices between conventional, large scale production systems compared to organic, smaller scale production, physical and mental health, access to health care and affordable housing, wages and hours worked, and more (Brown and Getz 2011; Harrison and Getz 2015; Holmes 2013; Minkoff-Zern 2014a; Quandt et al. 2014). However, there is still work to be done to understand the day-to-day experiences of farm workers, particularly those who are settling in, long-term, to rural communities across the American West. Further, women farm workers have been understudied, and we know little about the day-to-day lived experiences of Latina farm workers in particular. To advance our understanding of the particular challenges facing farm worker women, we initiated a pilot research project in southwestern Idaho. During the pilot research phase, we conducted participant observation and interviews with Latina farm workers. We also administered a survey to 30 individuals (including men and women) who either work in agriculture or have a spouse who works in agriculture.

In this paper, we present our initial findings on (1) the challenges Latina farm workers face with regards to food provisioning, and (2) the strategies they use to deal with these challenges. In the following section, we define food provisioning, and discuss why it is important to consider food provisioning when considering well-being, particularly among Latina farm workers. We then move to discussing the various factors that may influence the labor of food provisioning for Latina farm workers. After that, we discuss the methods we used for data collection and analysis. Finally, we present and discuss our initial findings.