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An episode of Vermont Law School’s Hothouse Earth Podcast focused on the work of Migrant Justice and legal protections for farmworkers. Listen as Dean Jenny Rushlow examines why the law often fails to protect these essential workers, while former CAFS communications specialist Molly McDonough speaks with Migrant Justice activists and a Vermont-based worker from Mexico to learn how advocates are stepping in where the law falls short.

This project empowers farmworkers to understand and exercise their legal rights.

They keep our farms running and our communities fed. But farmworkers also suffer some of the most dangerous work conditions in the country. As a largely immigrant workforce, the challenges they face—from exploitation to occupational hazards to substandard housing—are magnified by barriers to accessing justice. 

Cover of handbook: Derechos de Vivienda y Empleo

Funded by USDA National Agricultural Library, CAFS first assessed federal employment and housing laws relevant to farmworkers, publishing a report that uses Vermont as an example of how state laws can serve to extend those protections. 

Leveraging funds from the Vermont Community Foundation, CAFS’s Food and Agriculture Clinic then partnered with Migrant Justice in 2018 to develop a Housing and Employment Rights handbook tailored to workers on Vermont dairies. The handbook, available in both English and Spanish, was updated in 2024. 

The Vermont nonprofit Migrant Justice formed in 2009 after a young worker from Mexico was killed on a dairy farm due to unsafe work conditions and has since been advocating for better housing and employment conditions. 

Assisting workers in understanding the rights and protections they are afforded under the law is an important step in preventing exploitation and achieving access to justice.

View the Guide:

En Español »
In English »



Migrant Justice

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