We believe that a just, sustainable food system involves all of us. We also believe that those who courageously call out for justice need others to stand with them – to accompany them in this quest. The Accompaniment Program of Rural & Migrant Ministry is about working together, learning from one another, and inspiring one another.
The Accompaniment Program is also rooted in the belief that those who are impacted by decision-making, need to be at the table where those decisions are made. And if there are impediments to their participation, those barriers need to be removed.
From our very beginning we have sought to address policies and structures that deny farmworkers and other rural workers equality, justice, and hope. We have done this by accompanying workers as they seek to change these systems, and we have done this by organizing and educating allies to stand with workers and their families – using our privilege and access in support of the workers. In order to be effective, we have invited a diversity of allies from the faith, labor and student communities to join us.
We work to address local issues of rural injustice, and have at times, joined broad coalitions to address national issues that are impacting rural New York State workers and their families. However, our prime effort during the past decade has been to coordinate and staff the Justice for Farmworkers Legislative Campaign.
Now that the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act passed, we enter a new stage of accompanying farmworkers so that they can utilize their newly won labor rights. We are proud to partner with Trabajadores Agricolas Unidos – NY (UFCW/RWDSU) and their organizing of emerging farmworker unions across New York. Labor organizing in New York’s agricultural system is proving an effective avenue to bringing about real change within the system, and an effective vehicle for building strong leaders and power.
Another key aspect of RMM’s Accompaniment work is standing with grass-roots leaders as they establish community based cooperatives.
Cooperatives are a long-standing avenue for people to build a power base and bring about real change. Presently, RMM is working with four emerging cooperatives across rural New York.