The owner of a Mexican restaurant in Portsmouth is raising money on Wednesday to help migrant workers by commemorating the birth and legacy of labor activist Cesar Chavez.

Chef David Vargas, owner of Vida Cantina on Lafayette Road, said the food system has remained stable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because of the workers who pick and collect the food people eat.

“When they go to the grocery store, I don’t think people understand where their food is coming from,” Vargas said.

Vargas has recruited other chefs from throughout the East Coast to participate in the fundraising efforts. They are each preparing a cauliflower dish and proceeds from the sales will go to nonprofit organizations.

“These are just people that are doing great things in their communities,” Vargas said of the chefs who will be participating in the event in Somerville, Mass., Providence, R.I., Nashville, Tenn., Brooklyn, N.Y., and Buffalo, N.Y.

The chefs chose cauliflower because they say that migrant workers are integral in getting it to grocery store shelves.

At Vida Cantina, Vargas will be serving cauliflower relleno tacos, and the proceeds from the sale of the dish will go to Migrant Justice.

Migrant Justice is located in Burlington, Vt. Vargas said he has worked with the organization in the past.

“They work very closely with migrant workers and help them in getting equal pay,” Vargas said.

The specialty cauliflower dish will be on the menu from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made online or over the phone.

Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and became the United Farm Workers labor union.

Recommended for you