Reflecting on UW4FOODWORKERS

I was very nervous going into this project. I would go so far as to say I was dreading it because 1) taking action sounds like a big, time consuming idea, 2) I had little idea what a project on “movements” would entail, and 3) I generally am screwed over by group projects. However, I come out the other side of this project with three thoughts entirely distinct from my original speculation. First, taking action was an interesting and effective way to synthesize material in class. Second, the food worker rights movement does not receive the support it deserves considering the sheer amount of people working in the food sector. Finally, I am thankful I had a group that worked well together but was also able to divide tasks to complete as individuals.
I very much enjoyed the interviewing portion of the project because it allowed me to ask questions related to the course. It brought up a lot of topics related to the contemplations actually, since the majority of those identified who made the food we were eating possible. Though the individuals we interviewed did not have as heartbreaking of a story as the workers on cocoa plantations or struggling to make ends meet collecting raisins, there was overlap and that was surprising to see in a first-hand context.
Meeting Perry and discussing the farmer’s market videos with my partners after doing research on the different labor movements in Seattle clarified to me how few people are mobilized behind this issue. If you aren’t involved or were once involved in that sector for a career, you are usually not participant despite using their services on more than likely a daily basis. There are some cool groups I’d enjoy working with during some free time this summer, starting with the UW Farm and probably it’s partner, the UDistrict Food Bank to show my appreciation for those in our community forgotten by the system and be involved in an attempt to improve it.
Our group collectively determined what the project would focus on and made compromises on how to execute it so everyone’s vision came through at the end. I personally really wanted to focus on looking at the stigmas placed on people in the food system because I notice a lot of assumptions about people who work as wait staff or grocery clerks in our culture; these workers are identified as “just a *insert occupation here*” and looked past when each of these people has a lifestory that is worth recognizing and respecting. Thus, I interviewed people in these types of positions and was able to ask interview questions that correlated with the end goal of displacing the “just a” myths. Meanwhile, other members of my group found treatment by government agencies more salient to them than treatment by consumers so they had the opportunity to focus in on that. In essence, we each were able to mould the experience into something that stood out specifically to us, while remaining on the same page.

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