American Labor Merit Badge

Click here for the official guidelines from the Boy Scouts of America for the American Labor Merit Badge.

While you can’t necessarily tie this badge directly to the operation of a container garden, it nonetheless relates to the issues that our Learn & Grow Educational Series seeks to address. Some thoughts to consider with respect to this badge include the impact of the various concerns explored by this badge on migrant farm workers and those who grow, package, and transport our food from the fields to the grocery stores.

Where the badge requires you to explore worker concerns such as working conditions, workplace safety, hours, wages, equal opportunity employment and discrimination, automation, layoffs, and benefits, these are particularly pertinent to the conditions of those who grow and bring us most of our food. Where the badge requires you to attend a meeting of a local union or other employee organization, consider visiting your nearest United Farm Workers of America meeting or that of a similar organization.

Consider the impact that a return to home gardening by a large number of Americans would have on the people who are employed within the current food supply and distribution channels. How could their expertise and knowledge be put to constructive use in a new food economy in which people and local communities grow most of their own food? Could they become caretakers of local community gardens and teach others how to grow their own food? Could they be assisted to start their own farms to grow healthy, fresh produce for their local communities? Consider these questions and any others they cause you to think of when you examine the impact of globalization on workers within the food production and supply industries.

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