How to harvest in a pandemic? The German media coverage of migrant workers and harvesting in the context of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has widely been discussed as a crisis that impacts daily life on a global scale, including food security, global supply chains, consumer
behaviour and nutrition. In this crisis, providing food became an even more essential service, agricultural work became an essential activity, and with this, farm
workers became so-called essential workers. In Germany, this topic was broadly
taken up by local and national newspapers. Due to immense media interest during
the first lockdown, the working conditions in the food sector and especially the
marginalized status of farmworkers were rendered visible to a broader public. This
paper analyses the discourses and how food production in times of the pandemic
affects pre-existing workers’ inequalities and lack of workers’ rights, revealing migrant workers as one of the most vulnerable groups in the German food system. It
concludes by demonstrating that the mechanisms of Covid-19, which have been
exacerbating existing inequalities in the food sector during the pandemic, are part
of a structural socio-economic and socio-political crisis that must be regarded in
the context of global capitalism and intersectional inequalities.