June 28, 2012

Back In Action: Summer's hot and so is the Campaign for Fair Food!

 Hey out there to all our Fair Food friends - Welcome back!
We know its been a while since you last heard from us, but that doesn't mean the Campaign for Fair Food has slowed down.  Indeed, since the last time we reached out about a year ago, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and national allies have been continuing to fight for fair food across the country.

We've covered a lot of ground in the past year, so to bring you back up to speed, here's a quick run-down of campaign updates, actions, and victories:

  1. After a decade of struggle, the Fair Food Program -- which includes the CIW's Fair Food Code of Conduct and the penny-per-pound bonus for tomato harvesters -- is now being implemented on 90% of Florida's tomato farms, impacting approximately 30,000 workers at any given point during the harvest season. The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) is the newly created independent organization charged with monitoring grower and buyer compliance with the Fair Food Program. For a rundown on the FFSC and its first season of groundbreaking work, check out this recent article from the Ft Myers News Press!
  2. The remainder of 2011 was witness to a serious surge in the Trader Joe's campaign, as Fair Food activists from around the country continued to push Trader Joe's to stop dragging its feet on human rights standards for its tomato supply chain. In early 2012, the message was finally heard, and on February 9th, 2012, the corporation became the second national grocery store chain to sign a Fair Food Agreement with the CIW, demonstrating to Publix and other grocery chain holdouts that it is possible to do the right thing! This marked the 10th Fair Food agreement the CIW has reached with a major food retailer!
  3. Just weeks after the agreement with Trader Joe's was signed, the Fair Food movement pivoted to another historic moment in the campaign -- the first major fast since the early days of the Taco Bell Boycott in Irvine, California.  The Fast for Fair Food was a resounding success, uniting 50 workers and their allies in a five-day fast in Lakeland, Florida, on the doorstep of Publix's headquarters. And although the grocery chain -- the fourth largest privately held corporation in the U.S. -- continues to bury its head in the sand, the action further strengthened the resolve of the CIW and its allies. As Martin Luther King said, "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."
  4. And last but certainly not least, we'd be remiss if we left out the recent return to an old foe in the Campaign for Fair Food. Just as the applause from the Trader Joe's victory began to quiet, and the fasters returned to their homes, respected food writers turned their eyes once again towards the incredulous blunders of the Chipotle PR machine, pointing out the proverbial fly in their kitchen. Visit the CIW's site to read an entertaining serial update and point-by-point response to the "Top Ten Fibs, Falsehoods, and Fabrications" dreamed up by Chipotle in response to the Campaign for Fair Food.
So now that you're up to date on the happenings in the Campaign for Fair Food, please consider adding your name to these two important petitions!
And if you've made it this far and are really hungry for justice, come out to the Austin event during the National Day of Action against Chipotle on July 25! Fair Food groups across the country are going to turn up the heat on Chipotle on this day, sending a unified message to Chipotle that no matter how hard they try to sell us "Food with Integrity," consumers and farmworkers know it's a hollow marketing scheme that can only be made whole by signing a Fair Food Agreement with the CIW.

To find out more information about the action and to sign up to participate, email us!  We hope to see you there!

April 4, 2011

"Do the Right Thing" Report-Back

"It's not a question of whether we will win, but when..."

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.
And when we do win, we will not only free workers from oppressive conditions
in the fields, but we will also free Publix from the impossible burden
of supporting and justifying that oppression...

Check out the below video 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,
Trader Joe's and Kroger continues!!

"Farmworkers target Tampa Publix stores in protests," Associated Press, 3/5/11

"We are all farmworkers," The Atlantic, 3/2/11

"Farmworkers to pressure Stop & Shop," Boston Globe, 2/26/11

"Farmworkers plan rally at Tampa Publix stores," Ft. Myers News-Press, 3/3/11

"Immokalee workers launch 5-city protest," Democracy Now!, 3/1/11

February 14, 2011

Help Bring Austin's Fair Foodistas to Tampa!

Hey out there to all our allies and supporters,

We at Fair Food Austin are writing today to ask you, our supporters, to think about donating $25 to help students, young people, and low-wage workers from the Austin area attend an upcoming march being called for by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a migrant farmworker organization based in southern Florida. 

We're sure you all recall the Boot the Bell Campaign that the CIW won in 2005, where tomato pickers from Florida and their allies, including folks in Austin, boycotted Taco Bell for four years until the company agreed to stop human rights abuses, low wages, and ensure the end of slavery in their tomato supply chain.  Since then, the CIW and their allies the Student/Farmworker Alliance have together secured agreements with ten major global corporations (including McDonalds, Aramark and Whole Foods), many of which Austin played a crucial role in bringing to the table.  All these agreements work towards ending the poverty wages and abuses endemic to agriculture, and securing more dignity and power for working immigrant families, and have recently been joined and strengthened by agreements with some of the largest tomato growers in Florida!  Needless to say, their struggle has had ripple effects, and serves as an influence and model for other organizations, including Workers Defense Project here in Austin.  

Despite all the victories, though, there is still work to be done to make sure these changes are reaching the workers who need it most. This March, workers from the CIW are planning one of their biggest actions in years, asking for 2000 their allies to show up in Florida to the doorstep of Publix Grocery (the 3rd largest grocery chain in the US) and demand the same accountability and respect from Publix's CEOs.  The CIW has asked Texas allies to help turn out 40 people to thismarch, and here in Austin, we're hoping to bring at least 15 people.  

As many of us who have attended large actions know, these spaces can be seriously transformative, especially for young people.  You might not be able to leave work, your thesis, dissertation, your organization, or your classes to come with us, but you can help support this movement by donating $10-$25 to send others.

The CIW's struggle is one of the most widely successful of our generation.  Some of the most marginalized voices in the US right now are not only demanding respect and dignity, but winning it directly from some of the most powerful CEO's in the world.  It may not seem like a lot, but every city bringing 15 people makes the message a whole lot stronger, and your donation along with three other people's makes it possible for one more person to attend.

We are three weeks away and in our final fundraising push, and we only need $500 more to make this happen. Please consider kicking down some money.  We know a lot of you give tons of time and resources to this work already, so if $25 is too much, what can you comfortably contribute?  $5 or $10? Could you ask someone you know to donate?  Everything helps.

Help us make this happen, and help some of Austin's students, youth, and low-wage workers participate in this transformative experience together.  To make a donation, email kandace@sfalliance.org.  Thanks for thinking about it!

In Solidarity,
Fair Food Austin