This special issue of Labor challenges historians to think about food and work in ways that not only include the production of food but also explore the connections between the work of food, the place of food in working-class life, and the very nature and trajectory of capitalism itself. We start this discussion by charting the places of labor history within food studies and food studies within labor history, arguing that the two bodies of literature would benefit from more cross-pollination. The rest of the issue traces the relationship between food and work through a series of case studies, including discussions of Native American life during the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, African American food workers in the early twentieth century, Puerto Rican sugarcane workers under US imperialism, and the politics of fair trade. This volume asks not only how working people have been central to the production of food, but how food—as something that had to be acquired, prepared, and eaten—has been central to working-class life and capitalist transformation?

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