City Research Online

Media framing of migrant labour in UK fruit and vegetable production: an analysis of reporting in UK farming and mainstream print press

Broomfield, C., Nye, C. & Wells, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-0329-2120 (2022). Media framing of migrant labour in UK fruit and vegetable production: an analysis of reporting in UK farming and mainstream print press. Journal of Rural Studies, 95, pp. 423-437. doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2022.09.033


This study explores how UK mainstream and farming print press report the issues arising from the prevalent use of migrant labour in UK horticulture. Domestic fruit and vegetable production is central to achieving transition to a sustainable diet with positive health, environment and social outcomes, including for its 80,000+ migrant workers. How policymakers understand the issues will determine whether the policy actions they take will address the underlying causes of UK horticulture's dependency on low-paid migrant labour. This study conducts a qualitative content analysis of 92 articles in leading national farming and mainstream press between February 01, 2015–June 26, 2020. Findings show that reporting in both press was significantly slanted toward concerns and interests of farm business groups, correlated with prominent representation of this groups' voice in reporting. This contrasts with minimal presence of the voices of migrant workers and social reform stakeholders. Both press deployed an economic frame in which migrant workers were discussed in purely commercial terms. The prevailing market model of journalism increases the potential for well-resourced groups to dominate media reporting and shape framing. Such stakeholder groups are unhindered – if not aided – by a largely absent neo-liberal state, creating socio-political conditions which militate against policy reforms to bring about a more economically and socially just supply chain.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Agricultural migrant labor, Fruit and vegetable production, Media framing, Farming press
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Media framing of hort migrant labour in UK.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (613kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login