To the editor:
I welcome the new Excluded Workers Fund, which will make it possible for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, including many farmworkers, to finally have the support they need after a year of being cut off from all government relief programs. As the owner of a farm in Hudson Valley, I know how beneficial it will be not just for workers, but to our entire community and the economy of our region.
Since the 2000s, the local food movement has blossomed in the Hudson Valley and has become a driver of our economy. Restaurant workers are key to the success of this movement. Our farm, for example, partners closely with a number of restaurants and caterers who purchase our products. And we know that many restaurant workers are excluded workers who have received no pandemic economic relief. Since restaurants closed or reduced their staffing we have been concerned about the many restaurant employees who have been out of work. We know how hard it has been for them to pay rent and support their families.
The Excluded Workers Fund will give these families much needed relief. And this money will go right back to the local community as families can pay overdue rent, purchase groceries, buy needed home goods, and catch up on repair work.
We depend on farm and restaurant workers to feed New Yorkers. We need them. Now is our chance to show up for them and make sure their needs are met, too.
Jody Bolluyt, co-owner, Roxbury Farm CSA