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!