Migrant Justice's Silenced Voices Documentary Film
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- VT Immigrant and Farmworker Rights Resources
- For Educators
- English Language Learning and Popular Education Resources
- Farmworker and Immigrant Rights Organizations
- Family Farming, Food Justice and Farmworker Rights
- Root Causes of Migration: Globalization of Agriculture
2020 Transportation Guidelines for Volunteer Drivers in the Solidarity Transportation Network
Frequently asked questions by allies about getting a Driver's Privilege Card/ID
VT Workers' Center: resources on workers'rights
The Open Door Clinic: free health clinic for uninsured and underinsured adults in Addison County, Vermont.
NOTCH Health Clinics : health care for residents in the Franklin and Grand Isle counties.
Below are some suggestions of a variety of resources that support teachers to engage students about the inter-related topics of immigration, migrant farm workers, Vermont food systems, and globalization into classrooms.
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1) VT Dairy, Migrant Farmworkers, and the global food system:
VT Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project’s Video and Audio: Silenced Voices
The VT Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project is helping to support a group of workers to produce a newsletter in Spanish. The newsletter 'Nadando Contra La Corriente' (Swimming Against the Current) provides real life local stories of interest that can be used in Spanish classes.
Return to Sender is a novel by Vermont author Julia Alvarez that tells the story of how a Mexican migrant familes' struggle to make ends meet lands them on a Vermont dairy farm also struggling to make ends meet. This is a great book for middle school classes and is available in English and Spanish (good for high school and university students).
The Golden Cage audio interviews and photos documenting the life of migrant farmworkers and dairy farmers in VT.
Under the Cloak of Darkness is an on-line documentary film that documents the life of Vermont’s migrant farmworkers and dairy farmers.
Warning: Border Under Construction is a VT made documentary that explores the reorganization and regulation of life on the VT/Canada border and its repercussions for ordinary people. Link to trailer here.
Milking It! Small Farmers and International Trade is an educational resource by Oxfam that compares the lives of two dairy farmers in very different countries. How are they affected by international trade rules? Who makes these rules, and what can we do to change them? Here is a quiz on 'how much do you know about milk, small farmers, and international trade.'
Global Food Challenge: A cross-curricular resource to teach 11-14 year olds about global food issues.
While Vermont has roughly 1200-1500 migrant dairy workers, Wisconsin has over 5,000 migrant dairy farm workers. Though the contexts are different there are also many similarities. These links provide more information about Wisconsin's migrant dairy workers:
This award winning audio documentary series from David Somerstein from North Country Public Radio documents a trip a group of Northern New York Dairy Farmers made to Mexico to better understand where their employees were migrating from.
The Dark Side of Dairies: Every day, agricultural workers risk their lives to produce America's milk
This 2020 Dairy Market Report conducted by Dairy Management Inc. is a great detailed look at the corporate control of dairy industry and its impacts on farmers.
A 2016 article in the New Labor Forum on the Dairy Industry's national switch to immigrant workers, its effects, and how workers are organizing for their rights: Milking Workers
2) The history of VT Agriculture:
Filmed in Orange County, Vermont, featuring Kenneth and Helen O’Donnell and their draft horses, Last Stand Farmer is a documentary record, filmed through four seasons, of the life and philosophy of an elderly hill farmer and his struggle to keep his 19th century farm operation going. Soon after he viewed the finished film, Kenneth O’Donnell died; his widow sold the farm and moved away the following spring.
Without a Farmhouse Near by Deborah Rawson is a great book to help understand the struggles of maintaining family dairy farms in Vermont. Although the book was published in the 1989 it foreshadows why so many Vermont dairy farmers came to rely on migrant labor just 10 years after the book was written.
El viaje más caro/The Most Costly Journey is an ethnographic cartooning project that pairs Vermont cartoonists with Latin American migrant farm workers on Vermont dairy farms.
Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape examines the history—natural, environmental, social, and ultimately human—of one of America's most cherished landscapes: Vermont. It explores the history of dairy farming, which provides helpful context to explore the forces that led Vermont farmers to come to rely on migrant labor:
Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England by William Cronon traces how broader political and economic changes since the arrival of the colonists have massively transformed the human-environment relationship in New England and produced entirely new landscapes that reflect these broader changes. The book provides an excellent historical back drop to explore the recent inter-relationships between migrant farm workers from Mexico and struggling Vermont dairy farms in Vermont.
3) Globalization and Migration: Teaching for Equity and Justice:
Rethinking Schools has a variety of excellent resources to help educators organize units around migration and globalization such as:
BRIDGE: Building a Race and Immigration Dialogue in the Global Economy. A Popular Education Resource for Immigrant and Refugee Community Organizers
UPROOTED: Refugees of the Global Economy is a compelling documentary about how the global economy has forced people to leave their home countries.
The Roots of Migration is an on-line documentary film that explores the important question: why do so many people migrate to the United States from Mexico and what are the impacts on communities in Mexico?
4) Farmworker and Immigrant Justice:
The Student Farm Worker Alliance has an impressive list of articles and books to choose from.
These short on-line PBS NOW Videos document the Coalition of Immokalee Workers from Florida who have waged impressive and successful struggles against modern day slavery in US agriculture and their multi-faceted campaigns have successfully challenged food giants Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Burger King.
Here is a link to dozens of video and audio clips from the United Farmworkers.
5) Immigration Policy and Enforcement:
Up to date information about Immigration Policy and Enforcement.
An interview available in video or audio from Democracy Now about the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. We suggest searching on democracy now for additional resources/interviews to keep current.
Injustice for All: The Rise of the Immigration Control Regime is the executive summary of National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Right's 2009-2010 HURRICANE human rights report documenting U.S. human rights violations committed against immigrant families, workers and communities.
Excluded and Exploited: The New Regime of Trade, Managed Migration and Repression is a new in depth report about the relationships between economic globalization and migration. Democracy Now: Jailed Without Justice
6) Good readings, literature and creative writing on immigration, farm workers, borders and border crossings:
Luis Alberto Urrea's books including Across the Wire and the Devil's Highway are highly recommended reading for teachers looking to creatively engage the border and immigration issues.
Ruben Martinez's Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail is a must read for those looking at the complexities of migration, identity, and transnational communities.
Author Wendy call has some great suggestions for further reading here.
Nina Wallerstein and Elsa Auerbach have published several books and resources, working together and separately, that are great tools for ESL teachers trying interested in popular education.
Wallerstein and Auerbach inspired working draft of a booklet adapted and designed with VT context in mind for ESL teachers working on dairy farms with migrant farm workers wanting to utilize Problem-Posing ESL Popular Education techniques.
Though this isn't specifically designed for ELL educators, this text has some great and easy to adapt popular education activities and does a great job introducing popular education in an accessible way.
This is a list of some national and local organizations working everyday for the human rights, dignity and justice for farmworkers and immigrants.
These organizations see the need to bring together family farming, food justice and farmworker rights organizations to rebuild our food systems!
Many immigrants in Vermont and throughout the US are displaced family farmers from other countries who have suffered greatly from the advancement of the globalization of corporate agriculture, which promotes unequal competition between huge subsidized corporate agribusiness with small farmers. Since the 1994 passage of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Mexico lost over 2 million farming jobs and the number of Mexicans migrating to the U.S. each year has more than doubled. Subsidies, price supports, and various programs supporting small farmers were eliminated due to NAFTA.
The VT Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project met with these organizations on its January 2010 delegation to Mexico: