Food studies’ Dr. Minkoff-Zern on immigrant labor and American food systems

Food studies assistant professor Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Ph.D., comments on issues of immigrant labor and American food systems in light of the nation’s recent and potential policy changes in “What Would America’s Food Supply Look Like Without Immigrant Labor?”

In the Munchies article, Dr. Minkoff-Zern explains, “We are dependent upon undocumented immigrants and we have been for a long time, so there’s this real contradictory nature where on the one hand people want to see them gone, and on the other they want food cheap. Our food system, where we really have access to a lot of cheap food, is dependent upon low-wage labor, and that is dependent upon a source of undocumented workers who don’t have the ability to help themselves.”

Dr. Minkoff-Zern’s research and teaching broadly explores the interactions between food and racial justice, labor movements, and transnational environmental and agricultural policy. This focus builds on her extensive experience with sustainable development and agricultural biodiversity projects abroad, combined with work on migrant health issues domestically.