Innovation in
Farmworker Labor

 

Exploring new models in agricultural
labor contracting.

An asset management company focused on using its investment dollars to advance sustainability came to The Workers Lab hoping to explore new labor models that increase worker voice and power. We began this partnership focused on alternative labor contracting practices and potentially new models for worker ownership. We knew we could leverage our convening power to bring the right voices to the table for the initial conversations. We convened representatives from the asset management company, The Working World, and Democracy at Work Institute to imagine a path forward for this project.

The Working World (TWW) builds cooperative businesses in low-income communities, using a groundbreaking model that combines non-extract ive finance with tailored business support. We previously worked with TWW when they participated in an Enterprise Institute to explore the viability of a fund to support cooperatives. Along with Democracy at Work Institute, we have spent several months scoping out the feasibility of a contracting model that could transform the American agricultural industry.

Because of the scale of this project, it has required the strategic orchestration of partners, vast data gathering, deep feasibility research, and sophisticated technical expertise. It also means we share specifics sparingly since we are still hashing out the details.

Summary of Support

Connected the partners + Investment in feasibility research + Equity investment in the business.

Key Milestone

Data gathering in the fields to gauge worker appetite for a transition to an unfamiliar model of accessing work.