October 22, 2010

It's a celebration: Landmark breakthrough in Campaign for Fair Food!

Jon Esformes (Pacific Tomato Growers) and Lucas Benitez (CIW), Immokalee, FL.

What: Fair Food Victory Celebration!
When: Thursday, November 4th at 7pm
Where: The Parlor (43rd & Guadalupe)

It's been difficult to keep track of all the incredible news flowing from Immokalee lately!

After ten years of high-intensity organizing in the Campaign for Fair Food -- efforts that have brought about precedent-setting agreements with the world's four largest fast-food companies, three largest foodservice providers, and leading natural retailer Whole Foods -- two major Florida tomato growers have finally joined the rising tide of social accountability in the agricultural industry.

Pacific Tomato Growers and Six L's, the oldest and largest growers in the business, respectively, have both agreed to pass on the penny-per-pound and to adopt the Code of Conduct at the heart of the campaign, including a cooperative complaint resolution system, a participatory health and safety program, and a worker-to-worker education process aimed at ensuring that farmworkers themselves are active participants in the social responsibility efforts. These reforms will directly impact thousands of workers as the Florida tomato harvest begins in just a few weeks.

It is clear that much remains to be done. With the exception of Whole Foods, the $550 billion supermarket industry continues to ignore calls to address farmworker exploitation in its supply chain. To maximize the wage increase and improved working conditions for farmworkers, it is necessary that all buyers of Florida tomatoes participate in the Fair Food program.

Still, this is a time for celebrating how far we've come. To our Austin friends old and new -- from the Taco Bell Boycott to the Farmworker Freedom March -- and to everyone who ever signed a postcard or petition, marched, picketed, slept on a church floor, played music, cooked tamales, drove through the night, spread the word to friends and family, or otherwise acted on the belief of a better tomorrow in Florida's fields, these victories belong to all of us.

Please join us to celebrate... even if we haven't seen you in months or years!