In economics, monopsony is the condition where there is one buyer for many sellers so that the purchaser can dictate terms to its suppliers.This is the big word used and the big situation described in Food Chains (directed by Sanjay Rawal) a film about the conditions of migrant farm workers in the southern USA.
The filmmaker likens these conditions to slave labour and provides ample evidence of the way that large corporate supermarket chains use their enormous buying power without making ethical connections between production and point of sale. Walmart’s entry into the grocery business is seen to have provoked competitive conglomerations of other huge food purchasers making only a few big buyers in the entire country and consequently, forcing prices way down for the producers.
The film provides some history of the Farm Workers Union (with Cesar Chavez in California in the 1970s) and talks also about the consequences of NAFTA for Mexican corn farmers (the fall in corn prices meant mass migration as farmers couldn’t earn a living), but the main message is that consecutive waves of migrant workers (from indigenous people, to blacks, and now Hispanics) have been harnessed to provide farm labour without protection from exploitation.
At the center of the film is Immokalee, Florida, where tomato pickers are fighting for fair wages and good working conditions. They get help from members of the famous Kennedy family, who still participate in this struggle, and at the end, we get some good news that involves Walmart.
Watch the trailer here: www.foodchainsfilm.com
Saturday Sept 27 10am VCT
Monday Sept 29 6:00pm IN09
Wednesday Oct 1 4:30pm IN10
Buy tickets here.