2014 Spring Forum Videos & Clips : The Hands that Feed Us

Good Food and Good Jobs in the Pioneer Valley

Participants at the 2014 PVGrows Spring Forum discussed how to ensure that the development of our local food system provides farm and food workers with fair pay, quality working conditions and a voice in the workplace. Check out our YouTube video segments below, or click here for the full forum video.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


The Spring Forum took place Thursday, April 10th from 9:00 am – 1:30 pm at Mill 1 in Open Square, 4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 

The food system accounts for 18 % of our Pioneer Valley jobs, employing nearly 38,000 people, and generating over $1 billion in local revenue. And it’s growing–  but the people who do the work of producing, manufacturing, processing, distributing, and selling our food see disproportionately less of the benefits of this growth.

At the PVGrows Spring Forum, participants used both a local and a national lenses to increase understanding of the opportunities that scaling up our local food system could provide for increased justice and equity for food system workers.


  • Learned who are “the hands that feed us.” How many people work in what kinds of food jobs and what are their wages and future career prospects, which focused especially on farm workers and restaurant workers.

  • Gained an understanding of working conditions that workers experience in growing, processing, cooking, and serving the food we eat.

  • Heard how employers navigate the challenge of providing workers fair pay while still running profitable businesses, and looked at successful strategies that employers are using in the region.

  • Posed questions about the future: what kinds of jobs and careers lay ahead for our increasingly localized food system?

The PVGrows Spring Forum is an annual event that allows for networking and experience sharing among local people taking varied approaches to building food system careers, including those who are taking action to ensure that Pioneer Valley food jobs are indeed good jobs.

The Forum included interactive sessions, structured networking, opportunities for collaboration, and a locally grown lunch.

View the complete list of Forum Presenters
Read more here about the PVGrows Forum.

This event was open to anyone working for a healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley, but due to spacial constraints, was limited to 120.
PVGrows Fall Forum 2012 - Springfield

The following reports informed and inspired the title and content of the 2014 Forum including:

  1. The Hands that Feed Us by the Food Chain Workers Alliance
  2. Good Food and Good Jobs for All by Yvonne Yen Liu, Applied Research Center
  3. The 25% Shift by Michael Shuman
  4. Backbone of Sustainable Food by the Vermont Fair Food Campaign

Video from the Forum is available on the PVGrows YouTube Channel.

Thank you to our Sponsors:



A special thanks to our caterers

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