Farmworkers & Housing
Agriculture is North Carolina’s leading industry – making about $10 billion a year. The workers who pick our fruits and vegetables do some of the most dangerous, hardest work in the country. Workers travel thousands of miles to work on NC farms for the growing season and cannot afford housing based on their meager salaries. Growers often provide housing, which must meet certain legal minimum requirements.
Until 2007, it was legal to provide beds – without mattresses. In some ways, the housing code for workers was worse than the minimum standards required in prisons. In 2003, the Farmworker Advocacy Network began a successful campaign to update the housing standards. We worked with legislators and mobilized hundreds of grassroots activists across the state to get this right. Before amendments were passed to the Migrant Housing Act in 2007, the law had not been updated for 18 years.
Today, the law still isn’t perfect. Workers who deal with pesticides need better access to showers and laundry. And everyone has the right to privacy and dignity in their home. We need your help to get a fair share for people who work hard. We need a harvest of dignity.
Click below to watch WRAL's "Focal Point" on migrant housing in NC: