It has been about a month since the Harvest of Dignity won “Best Documentary/Topical” in the Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards, but we’re still celebrating. This is a huge step forward in the farmworker justice movement, one that will help bring more awareness and involvement in improving the living and working conditions of North Carolina field and poultry workers.
Harvest of Dignity was produced in 2010 with Donna Campbell of Minnow Media, Student Action with Farmworkers and the Farmworker Advocacy Network, to commemorate the 50th anniversary broadcast of Edward R. Murrow’s groundbreaking 1960 documentary, Harvest of Shame. Murrow’s documentary revealed conditions of housing, education and pay for workers and raised awareness of farmworker injustices, and prompted the passage of new legislation to protect farmworkers. The Harvest of Dignity, through interviews with farmworkers, religious leaders, and advocates examines if and how the lives of farmworkers have changed in North Carolina in the last 50 years. The documentary uncovers housing conditions in migrant labor camps in Snow Hill and Benson, NC and details issues of pay, education, pesticide exposure and injuries. Fifty years ago most farmworkers were African American; today they are more likely to be Latino/Hispanic. Most have come to North Carolina looking for opportunity for a better life.
The Harvest of Dignity is also the same name of FAN’s advocacy and awareness raising campaign that calls for positive education, legislation, and organizing initiatives to improve living and working conditions of North Carolina field and poultry workers. This documentary has been used as a teaching tool to involve community members in the farmworker justice movement. Harvest of Dignity is available in English and dubbed in Spanish. You can purchase a DVD here or stream the documentary online from here.
FAN is thankful for the funders, partners and individuals who made this documentary possible: The North Carolina Arts Council, The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, OXFAM America, Donna Campbell and Minnow Media, Student Action with Farmworkers, Toxic Free NC, NC Justice Center, and Legal Aid of North Carolina.
While we are grateful for this award, we truly feel the recognition should go to the thousands of farmworkers who harvest our food each and every day.