Over the last decade and a half, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Student/Farmworker Alliance, have fought shoulder-to-shoulder to make the dream of justice, dignity and respect in the fields a reality. Today, that reality is the Fair Food Program. Now, the support of the Fair Food Nation is essential to bringing these critical human rights to thousands of workers in new crops and regions by sustaining the three core elements of our collective work for a just food system: the leadership and community organizing of farmworkers, the commitment of students and youth working in solidarity with the CIW and the essential monitoring work of human rights investigators.
Fifteen years ago, a small group of farmworkers from Immokalee and local allies stood on the side of State Road 41 in Ft. Myers, Florida, carrying an oversized papier-mâché tomato. They gathered there, squeezed between strip malls and rush-hour traffic, to declare a national boycott of Taco Bell.
Outside of Florida, only a handful of people had ever heard of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. And outside of the CIW members and their few faithful allies gathered that day, no one gave the Taco Bell boycott a ghost of a chance.
Yet here farmworkers and their allies stand together today, having won the Taco Bell boycott, and
- Thirteen more agreements with major food retailers from McDonald’s to Walmart;
- The partnership of over 90% of the Florida tomato industry, and;
- Verifiable human rights protections for 35,000 farmworkers and their families through the groundbreaking Fair Food Program, which is expanding and now operates in six new states and two new crops since its launch in 2011.
Gone is the daily barrage of sexual harassment, discrimination, and dangerous working conditions. Gone, too, are three decades of falling wages. Today, thanks to the Fair Food Program, workers can stand up for their rights without fear of being fired, and the Florida tomato industry is a model of social responsibility recognized around the country and around the world.
None of these historic changes would have happened without the unwavering commitment of thousands of students and young people who have joined the CIW in action time and time again over the course of the Campaign for Fair Food.
But in many ways, this work is just getting started.
The CIW and SFA are calling on the national network of allies that has fought, tooth and nail, to make the Fair Food Program a reality — not just to show up in action in the streets but to financially sustain our collective work for justice, too.
So today, we are launching the Fair Food Sustainer Program.
With a steady stream of monthly contributions, SFA (through the Alliance for Fair Food) can sustain and expand the three core elements of our work in conjunction with the CIW and the Fair Food Standards Council:
- The leadership of farmworkers through community organizing, worker-to-worker education, and frontline monitoring of their own rights in the fields,
- The commitment and leadership of student and youth allies through action holding retail food companies accountable for labor conditions in their supply chains, and
- The essential monitoring work of investigators though complaint investigations and field audits ensuring compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct.
Whether you sustain this work with a donation of $5 or $50 a month (or more!), with the partnership of the thousands upon thousands of people that make up the vibrant Fair Food Nation, there is nothing we cannot do together!
Become a founding member of the Fair Food Sustainer Program today.