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Workers, students set to launch Fast For Fair Food!
"...when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory."
March 1 , 2012 — Last week, at a moving press conference just across the street from the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, three UF students declared that they will be joining workers from Immokalee in going without food for all 6 days of the Fast for Fair Food. Dozens of UF students—like their peers at schools across the state of Florida—plan to make the trek to Lakeland on Saturday, March 10th, for the culminating picket and procession to Publix headquarters and the ceremony to break the fast.
And today, from Nashville, comes a timely and moving, must-read reflection on why students are mobilziing for the Fast for Fair Food. Here's an excerpt:
The Fast for Fair Food begins in just a matter of days. We will go without food because we have had enough. We have had enough lies, dishonesty and stubborness from Publix. We have had enough of the tired, misleading PR statements mindlessly repeated by Publix spokespeople. We demand that Publix recognize the humanity of farmworkers and respect the intelligence of its own consumers.
We go without food because we must. We must ensure that Florida's largest corporation stops setting a horrible example for the rest of the supermarket industry and instead commits its formidabble size, power, resources and influence to the Fair Food Program, an unprecedented partnership resulting from nearly two decades of ceaseless struggle by farmworkers and their allies in the hopes of carving out from the shameful history of southern agriculture a new reality of deep and lasting dignity, respect and social responsibility.
We will not be moved. In the words of Raj Patel, we will be confronting Publix "with compassion:" ...The fast can’t succeed unless Publix recognizes the humanity of the workers in Immokalee. And that is the great strength of this fast: it works not by embarrassing a shameless Fortune 500 company, but by reminding the people who work there that they too are human, are capable of compassion, and of making change that is life-affirming...
We are tired of waiting on Publix to make change that is life-affirming. We intend to bring that change about, whatever it takes. It is shameful that Florida's quintessential corporation has missed the bus, has been a follower and not a leader in safeguarding the rights of Florida's farmworkers. Publix has no reason nor justification for its bullheadedness. This change must come.
Two weeks out: Excitement builds toward the Fast for Fair Food!
February 21, 2012 — With just under two weeks to go until the launch of the Fast for Fair Food on the doorstep of Publix corporate headquarters, the media — and the fair food movement — are abuzz with anticipation and reflection.
Likewise, allies far and wide are flooding our inboxes with messages of solidarity and support. Marley Moynahan, a third year member of the SFA Steering Committee who will be fasting alongside farmworkers this March, shared this beautiful reflection:
Stand with farmworkers, their families, and allies this March. Demand that Publix join the Fair Food Program; demand that they choose the path of dignity and respect over the road paved with greed, profit, and exploitation. Join the Fast for Fair Food!
Trader Joe's Commits to Fair Food After Hard-Fought Campaign!
CIW Announces 6-Day Fast at Publix Headquarters
March 5-10, 2012
After signing an agreement with Trader Joe's, farmworkers and their allies sharpen focus on Publix
February 7, 2012 --- We are elated to announce that Trader Joe's has signed an agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers! With this accord, TJ's becomes the tenth corporation - and second supermarket chain - to commit its purchasing power to the Fair Food Program. Click here to read the full report from the CIW site!
US farmworkers in particular have fasted -- including Cesar Chavez's famous fast in 1968, which drew global attention to the plight of California farmworkers -- as a means to underscore the urgent need for more humane labor conditions in the fields.
The CIW's own organizing history is founded, in part, on a seminal hunger strike by six of its members, a month-long fast that stretched from December 1997 to January 1998. The fasting workers' only demand was for dialogue with Florida tomato growers, and though the growers refused to meet with the workers at the time, the call for dialogue drew the support of then-Florida Governor Lawton Chiles and former President Jimmy Carter.
Despite the growers' rejection, the energy created by the workers' courageous sacrifice was not lost. Their 30-day fast sparked what would become today's Campaign for Fair Food, and twelve years later, Florida growers would not just sit with farmworkers in Immokalee, but agree to forge an historic partnership that is changing the very nature of farm labor relations in Florida.
This coming month, workers from Immokalee -- men and women who put food on tables across the country -- will go without food again, this time to demand that Publix support that groundbreaking new partnership, that Publix support the fundamental human rights for farmworkers that are taking root today in Florida's fields thanks to the CIW's Fair Food Program.
Publix has turned its back on farmworkers' rights for far too long. From their belated public response to the finding of forced labor in their supply chain, to their cold-hearted disavowal of responsibility for labor abuse on their suppliers' farms generally -- "If there are some atrocities going on, it's not our business" -- to their unconscionable indifference in response to the Campaign for Fair Food, Publix has stood in the way of progress long enough.
The history of today's human rights movement is being written, in the fields -- and in the streets -- of Florida.
Join us in Lakeland this March as we write the next chapter with the Fast for Fair Food! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
SFA Steering Committee Meets in Immokalee!
February 2, 2012 — Immokalee played host this past weekend to the annual face-to-face meeting of the Student/Farmworker Alliance Steering Committee (SC). The SC is SFA's main leadership and regional organizing body, comprised of some of the best and brightest young organizers from across the country fighting for farmworker justice and to transform the food system!
Over the course of 3 intense days in the birthplace of the Campaign for Fair Food, SC members built strategy and mobilization plans for the upcoming Trader Joe's and Publix actions, built connections with CIW members and learned firsthand about the amazing transformation underway in Florida's fields, developed plans for continuing leadership development and organizational development within SFA, and recharged their batteries — and their spirits — for the work ahead.
Following the face-to-face, the Steering Committee emerged stronger and more committed than ever to carry the fight for fair food through to victory!
As we explored the crucial role of young people in the struggle for farmworker justice this past weekend, we reflected often on the memory and legacy of Nan Freeman, an 18-year old New College freshman who was fatally struck by a farm truck during a farmworker protest in Belle Glade forty years ago. In a moving tribute to Nan's memory, student activists at New College organized a candlelight vigil last week and circulated a letter to Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw, criticizing Florida's largest grocer for "[shrugging] off abuses." The letter read, in part:
This spring, SFA is poised to build upon this deep student organizing tradition set in motion by those who have gone before us. We'll start things off next week at the new Trader Joe's off Immokalee Road in Naples and in well over 30 cities across the country, and continue in Lakeland weeks later...
With all this momentum on our side, it's looking like Publix and Trader Joe's had better rethink their strategy...
Students, Farmworkers, Community Allies Mark International Human Rights Day with Publix Actions in Naples, Miami
While many students are finishing exams, packing their bags, and getting ready to head home for the holidays, the Campaign for Fair Food continues in full swing! This past weekend, the CIW joined students and other Florida allies to celebrate the annual International Human Rights Day. This year, they had a special message for Publix: it's time to respect the human rights of farmworkers!
In Naples, protestors "Occupied" the sidewalks outside a local store. Carrying signs that captured the zeitgeist - The 99% wants Publix to Pay 1 cent More, Bailout Tomato Pickers - they called for an end to Publix's inexplicable penny pinching. Local press came out to cover the event, which was a beautiful testament to the power of grassroots movements uniting.
One day later, an energetic crowd packed the roadside at the Grand Opening of Publix's newest Miami location. Among the crowd were students from nearby Barry University, Miami Dade College, Florida International University, and U Miami. Even Santa Claus got in on the fun, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas except - of course - the biggest scrooge of them all (and no, we're not talking about Ebenezer!) To no one's surprise, Publix shunned another opportunity for dialogue and instead threatened to arrest anyone who entered the store. And so CIW members presented their Declaration of Farmworker RIghts to a rather reluctant Corporate representative who had made the trek from Lakeland to see the action first hand. Click here to see more photos and read the full report from Miami.
Check back soon for more updates as we ring in a new year chock-full of actions, organizing, and (hopefully) some big victories!
This Thanksgiving, keep the pressure on Trader Joe's!
This week many of us will gather around the table with family and friends to celebrate love, life, and each other.
Together we will enjoy the fruits of the harvest made possible by farmworkers — those who have always toiled at one of our nation's worst paid, most difficult types of work.
But this season will be a season like no other for Florida's farmworkers, thanks to their efforts and those of their allies, the Florida tomato industry, and several of the largest food corporations in the world, who together are bringing about a new day in the fields.
But despite this good news, other leading food retailers — among them Trader Joe's and Publix — continue to disrespect the workers on whose shoulders the bounty of America's tables weighs most heavily.
Join us this Thanksgiving and help us send a message loud and clear to Trader Joe's that the time for slick public relations stunts is over, and the time for respecting the humanity of farmworkers is now!
Let the manager know that you're not satisfied and that the Fair Food movement won't rest until Trader Joe's respects farmworkers enough to sit down at the table with them, as equals, and find a verifiable, transparent, and lasting way to ensure human rights and fair wages in TJ's tomato supply chain. Of course, this shouldn't be so hard — nine other companies, including Trader Joe's competitor Whole Foods — have already done so.
Once you've delivered your letter, drop us a line and let us know how it went.
Tomato season begins in Immokalee... Students and youth come out in force to demand Fair Food from Trader Joe's and Publix!
As the calendar turns to November, we're finally starting to feel some semblance of Fall here in Immokalee. Oppressive heat and humidity give way to gentle breezes. Our streets – nearly empty during the summer while farmworkers spend the season harvesting crops up north – are busy once again with the bustle of the new tomato season. Yellow school buses have returned, joined by their former brethren now painted a variety of shades and re-deployed as farm labor vehicles, taking their passengers not to learn or study, but out to the fields to stoop and strain in cultivating and harvesting this country's food.
But this season in Immokalee will be like no other, not merely for the wildly successful Week of Action protests and major action at Trader Joe's headquarters that punctuated the past couple of weeks, but because of the new dawn beginning to rise over Florida's fields as the CIW's Fair Food accords are implemented across 90% of the Florida tomato industry.
Yet Trader Joe's and Publix continue to shirk responsibility and reject the CIW's Fair Food Program, therefore providing a market for exploitation-tainted tomatoes, inspiring other grocers to follow suit and threatening to undermine the groundbreaking yet fragile changes underway today.
Perhaps that's why consumers are frustrated with Trader Joe's and Publix, and increasingly so. For must-see reports and photos from the Week of Action and from the protest at Trader Joe's headquarters — which were largely anchored by that all-important 'millennial' demographic — head on over to the CIW site today (and check out some of the great coverage in the sidebar to the right).
And if that wasn't enough to get your Fair Food juices flowing, check out this amazing video created by allies in DC.
Trader Joe's and Publix continue to grow and profit handsomely off the backs of farmworkers, but today, hope is on the horizon. If the past couple of weeks are any indication, students, young people, consumers and farmworker allies across the country will not be tolerating for much longer the utter lack of responsibility and lack of respect for the lives and well-being of farmworkers that has so brazenly been demonstrated by these corporations.
This will surely be a season to remember — get involved today, and stay tuned for more updates!
National Supermarket Week of Action
New! Check out the local action listing to find an action in your community!
Major Action at Trader Joe's Corporate Headquarters
Book-ended by national and international "Food Days," highlighted by a major mobilization on Trader Joe's headquarters in Southern California, and spurred on by consumer and farmworker indignation over the continuing and stubborn refusal on the part of supermarket industry leaders Trader Joe's, Publix, Ahold USA and Kroger to support the groundbreaking changes taking root in Florida's fields, we convene the 2011 Supermarket Week of Action... coming to a grocery store near you!
The supermarket week of action (featuring supermarket protests and campaign events from coast to coast) and the Trader Joe's mobilization represent some of the first steps in a significant escalation of the movement to secure the supermarkets' support for fair wages and humane working conditions in Florida's tomato fields.
See below for some preliminary action ideas, campaign background and inspiration. If you're organizing an action or need resources, contact us and let us know!
September 22, 2011 — Don't miss the exciting photo report from the Fair Food Summit and these upcoming actions:
In the tradition of past Encuentros and Strategy Retreats, the Fair Food Summit brought together the best and brightest organizers from the Fair Food Movement, with a twist: This year the gathering was intentionally multi-sector and multi-generational, uniting students, community leaders, and people of faith from Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, New York, California, DC, and points between.
The Summit featured around 70 participants who gathered in Immokalee for three days of intensive discussions, workshops, and strategy sessions, all with the goal of figuring out how to strengthen our movement in order to break the impasse brought about by the stubborn resistance of the supermarket industry.
Don't miss the Summit photo report here, and see you in the streets!
It's that time of year again...
August 18, 2011 — The next few weeks will bring not just the end of summer but also an increased intensity in the Campaign for Fair Food. (For Trader Joes and Ahold, though, this summer has been anything but tranquil...)
We'll have more details for you soon on the upcoming "Pilgrimage to Publix" — where farmworkers from Immokalee will bike 200 miles to Publix headquarters in Lakeland to personally invite CEO Ed Crenshaw to Immokalee — as well as on upcoming major Trader Joe's actions and other plans in the works to demand that the stubborn supermarket industry leaders drop their inconceivable refusal to improve the lives of the men and women whose backbreaking, undervalued labor has fattened their corporate profits for so long.
For now, though, here's some things you can do to get ready to fight for fair food:
This coming season will be a season like no other as the CIW's Fair Food Code of Conduct is implemented across nearly the entire Florida tomato industry. Yet corporations such as Trader Joe's, Publix, Ahold (Stop & Shop, Giant) and Kroger insist that they have no role to play in improving conditions in their supply chains and instead look to hitch a free ride on the road to social responsibility.
This is clearly a situation that we can't — and won't — tolerate much longer.
Fair Food Coast to Coast!
Trader Joe's Truth Tour Wraps up in CA; Northeast Tour Kicks Off Soon!
The Campaign for Fair Food's sweltering summer continues...
July 26, 2011 — From L.A. to the Bay, the CIW's recently-concluded California Truth Tour was an unequivocal success. From numerous educational and community-building events to spirited and colorful actions — including one that spontaneously took the streets in The Mission — our friends and allies in California showed Trader Joe's that the movement is not going anywhere until TJ's comes to the table and agrees to work with the CIW to abolish sweatshops in the fields.
See you in the streets... Oh, and don't worry, Publix, we haven't forgotten about you.
A long, hot summer
July 11, 2011 - This site has been quiet as of late, but that doesn't mean that there hasn't been any action in the Campaign for Fair Food. This is the first of a series of dispatches that will get you updated on the fight for fair food that continues around the country in these dog days of summer.
Today we bring you some news from the Trader Joe's front — you know, that hip, supposedly "ethical," Aldi-owned national grocery chain that has been hard at work in recent weeks releasing incoherent statements, trolling the internet, and in general being belligerent in response to the Campaign for Fair Food.
Here's some great recent coverage from the campaign:
If you live in California, you have an opportunity this week to join CIW members in responding to Trader Joe's inexplicable and indefensible refusal to support the principles of fair food by coming out for the CIW Trader Joe's California speaking and action tour, underway now! From LA to the Bay Area, there's bound to be a protest or event near you — visit the CIW site for a full schedule and more info.
The California tour is just a small taste of things to come this summer and fall for Trader Joe's and the rest of the supermarket industry... It's finna get hot!
Consumers to Trader Joe's, Ahold: "Be a Good Store!"
May 31, 2011 - In reaction to a recent wave of incredible May Day actions organized earlier this month, Trader Joe's posted a "Note to our customers on Florida tomatoes and the CIW" on its website. The purpose? To persuade the ever-growing number of dissatisfied customers that the company's decision to not partner with the CIW is, indeed, the right one.
Unfortunately for Trader Joe's, no refusal to protect and ensure fair wages and working conditions for farmworkers is ever the right decision. In a four-part response to the note, the CIW first set straight the numerous misinformations contained within, then finished with a powerful "Note to Trader Joe's from its customers, via the CIW," which read, in part:
Check out the CIW site today to read the letter in full and for reports from other recent actions as consumers and Fair Food allies across the country pick up right where they left off and keep the heat on the supermarkets as summer begins!
And until Trader Joe's (along with Publix, Kroger and Ahold USA) signs on with the CIW, they can be sure that Fair Food supporters across the country will continue to voice their discontent. Take, for example, this incredible action organized last week in Boston by the city's own Sass Attack Radical Cheerleaders, who re-wrote the lyrics to Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time," choreographed a dance to go along with it, and performed at two Stop & Shops and one Trader Joe's in the Boston area. Click on the image below to see them in action!
The members of Sass Attack ended each of their performances with a simple chant: "Be a good store!" It seems as though it would serve each of these supermarkets will to heed that call, or a summer of discontent awaits...
Spring 2011 Community Postcard Campaign: Design and mail your postcard today!
April 12, 2011 — Ever since the Taco Bell Boycott, Fair Food supporters across the country have signed and mailed pre-printed postcards to different campaign targets, calling on them to take action and sign an agreement with the CIW to improve wages and working conditions in the fields.
Now it's your turn to get creative!
This Spring, tell Publix, Ahold, Trader Joe's or Kroger that it's time for them to commit to the principles of Fair Food by making your own jumbo-sized postcard and mailing it to the corporation's corporate headquarters!
On the back, write your message to one of our four supermarket campaign targets, letting them know that their continued inaction is unacceptable, and it's time for them to work with the CIW. Click here for sample text.
Then, take a photo of yourself or your group with the postcard. Send the photo to us at email@example.com, and mail the postcard in to your target's corporate headquarters (addresses below) on or before May 1, 2011.
Let's continue to make this Spring one that Publix, Ahold, Trader Joe's and Kroger won't easily forget! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Students and youth join thousands of farmworkers and their families plus Fair Food allies for huge, joyful and resounding marches and rallies at Publix stores in Tampa, FL
March 10, 2011 — Fair Food activists from across the Tampa Bay area, Gainesville, Miami, Lakeland, Pensacola, Jacksonville, Naples and Fort Myers, Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Kansas, Denver, New York City and points between gathered in Tampa last weekend for the culmination of the CIW's "Do the Right Thing" Tour.
Together, through Friday's plantones and Saturday's 1,500-people strong marches, rally and pageant, our voices and energy joined and amplified the message from the CIW to Publix (and to the rest of the retail food industry that has yet to step up and support for the Campaign for Fair Food):
It's not a question of whether we will win, but when.
Check out the below videos and press reports and the riveting daily reports from the CIW to get a flavor of the excitement and energy from the Do the Right Thing Tour and actions.
Stay tuned as the Campaign for Fair Food focusing on Publix, Ahold USA,
New: Sample fundraising letter for Boston/Tampa mobilizations
Message to the Fair Food Movement
February 1, 2011
Dear compañeras and compañeros, friends, allies, and Fair Food activists across the country —
When our struggle for dignity and respect began in the streets of Immokalee fifteen years ago, we knew it would take a long and arduous journey to realize our dreams. The mentality that reigned for so long in the agricultural industry — typified by one grower who dismissed six of our compañeros on a 30-day hunger strike by scoffing “the tractor doesn't tell the farmer how to run his farm” — seemed as solid and unmovable as a great stone wall.
But today, that wall is tumbling down.
Today, as a result of our Campaign for Fair Food, there are amazing changes underway in Immokalee. We say our because this movement belongs to all of us: farmworkers and students, consumers and organizers, fighters and dreamers.
But our journey is far from complete.
As farmworkers, as members of the CIW, and as mothers who want to leave a better world for our children, we make this appeal today on the verge of one of our most important mobilizations ever to all of our allies to do whatever it takes to join us for the upcoming “Do the Right Thing” actions in Boston and Tampa.
As we work tirelessly in Immokalee on the implementation of the Fair Food Code of Conduct for which we have fought all these years, we ask that you too organize in your community — talk to your friends, hand out flyers, organize fundraisers, coordinate caravans — join us in Boston and Tampa.
We invite you to walk with us as we demand Ahold and Publix join with the CIW and with the Florida tomato industry to ensure human rights and dignity for the men and women whose backbreaking labor makes it possible for these stores to line their shelves with fresh produce and to make record-breaking profits year after year.
The transformation underway in our community has brought us stories of a new climate of respect in the fields; of parents telling us what it's like to walk their own children to school for the first time ever. These and many other changes that were unimaginable just a few months ago are starting to take root today.
But Ahold and Publix continue to stand in the way of more humane conditions in the fields by refusing to participate – instead callously dismissing the abuses we have faced in the fields and refusing to join nine other corporations in paying their fair share and conditioning their tomato purchases on the Fair Food Code of Conduct. Ahold and Publix threaten to blunt and undermine the progress we're making toward the end, finally, of the Harvest of Shame.
If you support the Campaign for Fair Food, if you support our dreams of a better world, you must join us and tell Ahold and Publix it's time to "Do the Right Thing!"
See you in Boston and Tampa!
-Nely and Silvia
"...with each new confrontation, the protestors have realised, and demonstrated, that they are more powerful than their oppressors. When they are prepared to act in sufficient numbers with sufficient determination, the people have proved that there's no stopping them..."
February 11, 2011 — Normally this site is a vehicle for the latest updates and action alerts from the Campaign for Fair Food, which you'll find below.
But we would be amiss today if we didn't pay homage to and revel in the celebration of our sisters and brothers in Egypt as we bear witness to the extraordinary and beautiful scenes erupting in Tahrir Square and across that country today.
A people's movement — largely led by the nation's youth — has now officially deposed longtime (and U.S.-backed) strongman Hosni Mubarak from the Presidency, opening the way to deep democratic and social reforms long yearned for by the people of Egypt.
Without a doubt, recent events in Egypt fill our hearts with joy, pride, and a renewed energy to continue to contribute our small "grain of sand" to the project of building a better world. It reminds us once again that yes, sometimes, the people do win.
And so we celebrate today, but soon we return to the work at hand: mobilizing our communities for the quickly-approaching "Do the Right Thing" Tour!
In that vein, we bring you the following excerpts from an amazing reportback drawn up by the Community/Farmworker Alliance on last weekend's "Northeast Encuentro for Farmworker Justice:"
See you in Boston and Tampa!
The SC is SFA's main leadership and regional organizing body, comprised of some of the best and brightest young organizers from across the country fighting for farmworker justice and to transform the food system!
Over the course of three intense days in the birthplace of the Campaign for Fair Food, SC members built strategy and mobilization plans for the upcoming Ahold and Publix actions and tour, built connections with CIW members and learned firsthand about the amazing transformation underway in Florida's fields, developed plans for continuing leadership development and organizational development within SFA, and recharged their batteries — and their spirits — for the work ahead.
Following the face-to-face, the Steering Committee emerged stronger and more committed than ever to carry the fight for fair food through to victory!
Profiting from atrocity?
Outlandish comments from Publix spokesperson galvanize consumers, farmworker allies
December 16, 2010 - Yep, you read that right. And no, it's not a typo.
Publix spokesperson Dwaine Stevens did actually just say,
"if there are some atrocities going on, it's not our business."
In the 21st century — with wide consensus existing amongst corporations and institutions of every ilk to at the very least pay some kind of lip service to principles of supply chain social responsibility (not to mention the concrete, verifiable mechanisms being implemented jointly by nine food industry leaders, the Florida tomato industry, farmworkers and consumers to eliminate supply chain "atrocities") — for a key spokesperson for one of the largest and most profitable private corporations in the US to make such a statement is astonishingly beyond the pale.
When farmworkers and allies first called on Publix to join the growing Campaign for Fair Food, we thought Florida's hometown grocer would jump at the opportunity to implement true social responsibility in its tomato supply chain and improve the lives of the tens of thousands of Florida farmworkers whose daily backbreaking labor makes it possible for Publix to line its shelves with fresh produce and its executives to line their pockets with the money of Florida consumers.
Apparently, we were wrong.
The latest statement — "atrocities are not our business" — confirms a callousness and contempt for farmworkers on the part of Publix that we've suspected for some time now. It's unfortunate that this is the tack that the company has chosen.
But we've seen this before, and persevered.
The precedent for supply chain responsibility in the fast-food industry was established through an unrelenting 4-year boycott of Taco Bell. Today, farmworkers and their allies remain as committed as ever to establish that precedent in the $500 billion supermarket industry, and no corporation has as much obligation to be a leader and model in this arena as Publix, a quintessential Florida corporation if there ever was one.
Publix, what'll it be? When will you put aside foolishness and take responsibility?
As the CIW states in a must-read analysis of Mr. Stevens' statement:
Make your voice heard today, and join us in Tampa this March 4-5 for a two-day action, march, celebration and convergence to make it clear to Publix that it can't wash its hands of the responsibility it has to help end Florida's longstanding harvest of shame once and for all!
Multimedia Report now online!
Don't miss all the exciting photos and videos encapsulating more than 30 actions — from Lady Gaga to Renegade Tomatoes — held across the country during the 2010 Supermarket Week of Action!
The 2010 Supermarket Week of Action — held in the leadup to Thanksgiving and the 50th anniversary of the original broadcast of Harvest of Shame — was unlike any other in the history of SFA and the Campaign for Fair Food as the CIW and the FTGE announced a landmark agreement to extend the CIW's Fair Food principles to over 90% of the Florida tomato industry.
As a result of this pact, the Harvest of Shame is nearing an end. As we turn the page on this chapter of Florida agricultural history, however, much work remains. The supermarket industry is now the only impediment to a future of fair wages and dignified treatment for farmworkers.
The opening lines of the next chapter in this story were etched recently as Fair Food activists across the country organized more than 30 actions and events during the Week of Action, from Jacksonville and Pensacola to Denver and Houston; from Berkeley to the Rio Grande Valley; from New York City to Chicago.
Don't miss the multimedia report and the special message that follows it!
As we reflect on another successful Week of Action and the CIW/FTGE agreement, we realize that the Campaign for Fair Food is far from over. The onus is now clearly on supermarket chains such as Publix, Kroger, Stop & Shop, Giant, Walmart and Trader Joe's to step up and support the higher standards and improved wages with their significant purchasing power. And if the past is any guide, it will ultimately be the organized voice of conscious consumers — taking action alongside Immokalee's farmworkers — that will finally bring the supermarket industry to the table.
Thanks to the hard work of farmworkers in Immokalee, thousands of farmworker allies across the country, nine major food corporations, and, now, almost the entire Florida tomato industry, it's never been easier to support human rights in Florida's fields.
The refusal on the part of supermarket industry leaders to participate
Check out the Week of Action report today — and stay tuned as we prepare for major actions at the headquarters of Ahold USA (Boston) and Publix (Tampa) this February 27 to March 5!
"Watershed moment in the history of Florida agriculture"
CIW, Florida Tomato Growers Exchange (FTGE) announce landmark agreement
November 16, 2010 - Today at a press conference in Immokalee, the CIW and the Florida Tomato Grower's Exchange announced an agreement marking the beginning of a new reality for the thousands of Florida farmworkers who labor each day to put the food on America's tables.
"This is a watershed moment in the history of Florida agriculture," said Lucas Benitez of the CIW. "With this agreement, the Florida tomato industry—workers and growers alike—is coming together in partnership to turn the page on the conflict and stagnation of the past and instead forge a new and stronger industry."
With Florida tomato pickers and Florida tomato growers now working in partnership to build a tomato industry that respects and values the human rights and basic dignity of all workers, the spotlight on a supermarket industry that has, to date, refused to partner with the CIW now shines brighter than ever. In the words of the CIW"s Gerardo Reyes, "It is time now for supermarket industry leaders to seize this historic opportunity and help make the promise of fresh—and fair—tomatoes from Florida a reality."
During this, the National Supermarket Week of Action, you can act today to call on companies like Publix, Kroger, Ahold and Trader Joe's to be a part of the solution that will finally guarantee fair wages and dignified working conditions for Florida's farmworkers.
This Thanksgiving, let's send a message to the supermarket industry: NOW is the time for Fair Food!
November 1, 2010 - With the recent historic agreements between the CIW and leading tomato growers, the vision of a more just and humane agricultural system is closer than ever to becoming a reality.
There's no doubt that change is underway. But the rate, breadth, and depth of that change depends now more than ever on the buyers of Florida produce — from Publix to Ahold, Kroger to Trader Joe's, Quiznos, and Walmart.
In the lead-up to Thanksgiving—one of the busiest times of the year for this country's supermarkets— you can do your part to help speed the day when all of Florida's farmworkers enjoy the fair wages, respect and dignity they deserve.
Take action this November 14-21:
Supermarket Campaign Video & E-Action!
Click here to send emails to the CEO's of Publix, Ahold (owner of Stop & Shop and Giant), Kroger, and Trader Joe's, demanding they work with the CIW for farm labor justice!
By leveraging its high-volume purchasing power, the $550 billion supermarket industry plays an active role in farmworker exploitation.
If we are to end Florida's decades-old Harvest of Shame, the supermarket giants must do their part. And for that to happen, the Campaign for Fair Food needs YOU to take action.
During the first several years of the Campaign for Fair Food, we focused our efforts on the fast-food industry. Then, last year, we turned to the foodservice industry, and won agreements with the three largest companies in that sector.
This year, let's end this struggle. The supermarket giants are the only thing standing between us and a future of respect for human rights in Florida's fields, between a food industry based on farm labor exploitation and degradation today and a more modern, more humane industry tomorrow.
Let's send the supermarkets a message — loud and clear — that it's time
Update: October 21, 2010:
Pacific Tomato Growers, CIW Sign Landmark Agreement for Social Responsibility in Florida Tomato Fields
Farmworker organization, tomato industry leader join forces to root out abuses, write "new chapter in Florida agricultural history"
October 14, 2010 - A seismic shift occurred in Florida agriculture yesterday as Pacific Tomato Growers and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers announced a historic agreement to improve wages and working conditions and institutionalize farmworker voice and participation in the industry.
The Campaign for Fair Food is far from over, and now pushes forward with more righteous urgency than ever before. As the CIW stated at yesterday's announcement at Pacific,
As farmworker allies and consumers, our own "plan of action" must now be to press forward with the Campaign until the major supermarket chains establish agreements with the CIW that will influence even more growers to do the right thing.
With yesterday's announcement, our demands of Publix, Kroger, Ahold and Trader Joe's remain the same: codes of conduct that farmworkers are involved in enforcing, supply chain transparency to ensure these codes are followed, and, of course, the penny-per-pound pay increase for workers who earn today, in real terms, less than half of what they earned 30 years ago.
Today, with Pacific and three other growers on board and the supermarket campaign growing stronger, we stand on the verge of a new day dawning in Florida's fields and of concretizing a dream that farmworkers and people of conscience have struggled decades for.
As we mark the 10th year of our existence and strive to win our 10th Fair Food Agreement,
Students celebrate resounding success of
August 23, 2010 - Yet another chapter in the historic alliance between students and farmworkers has been written today, as Sodexo becomes the fourth leading food service provider (following Bon Appetit Management Co., Compass Group, and Aramark) and ninth corporation overall to heed the demands of the Campaign for Fair Food and partner with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to systematically root out poverty and abuse from Florida's fields.
Read the reaction from the CIW and the joint CIW/Sodexo statement here.
With this victory, the Student/Farmworker Alliance's Dine with Dignity campaign — launched just 16 months ago with the goal of organizing student power to demand the immense college and university food service industry support principles of Fair Food — has come to a successful conclusion. Just as in the monumental Boot the Bell campaign, student organizing on campuses across the country proved decisive in bringing some of the world's largest food corporations to the table.
Click here to revisit some of the highlights from the Dine with Dignity campaign.
Although this chapter has come to a close, we're not done yet. Company by company we're building a path toward a better world for farmworkers and consumers alike. The supermarket industry, however, stubbornly stands in the way of this dream being fully fulfilled.
With triumphant wind in our sails, the national SFA network — battle-tested through ten years of successful organizing — will be bringing the fight for fair food to these supermarkets' doorsteps, beginning this September when dozens of SFA leaders converge in Immokalee for the 2010 Strategy Retreat focused on the supermarket campaign. Stay tuned for what promises to be a Fall season to remember...
PO Box 603, Immokalee, FL 34143 :: (239) 657-8311 :: organize (at) sfalliance.org