Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies (Kobo eBook)
An intimate examination of the everyday lives and suffering of Mexican migrants and indigenous people in our contemporary food system.
An anthropologist and MD in the mold of Paul Farmer and Didier Fassin, Seth Holmes shows how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and healthcare. Holmes’s material is visceral and powerful. He trekked with his companions illegally through the desert into Arizona and was jailed with them before they were deported. He lived with indigenous families in the mountains of Oaxaca and in farm labor camps in the U.S., planted and harvested corn, picked strawberries, and accompanied sick workers to clinics and hospitals. This “embodied anthropology” deepens our theoretical understanding of how health equity is undermined by a normalization of migrant suffering, the natural endpoint of systemic dehumanization, exploitation, and oppression that clouds any sense of empathy for “invisible workers.”
Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies is far more than an ethnography or supplementary labor studies text; Holmes tells the stories of food production workers from as close to the ground as possible, revealing often theoretically-discussed social inequalities as irreparable bodily damage done. This book substantiates the suffering of those facing the danger of crossing the border, threatened with deportation, or otherwise caught up in the structural violence of a system promising work but endangering or ignoring the human rights and health of its workers.
All of the book award money and royalties from the sales of this book have been donated to farm worker unions, farm worker organizations and farm worker projects in consultation with farm workers who appear in the book.