Florida Interfaith Fast for Farmworker Justice

This July, clergy, faith leaders, and communities from around Florida — the state with the largest number of Wendy's restaurants in the country — are embarking upon on a month-long rolling fast to heighten the call to Wendy’s to respect farmworker human rights by joining the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program. 

 

Interested in participating? Email us at patricia@allianceforfairfood.org to sign up!

Sign the petition below to support all the faith leaders and communities taking on this sacrifice for justice in July.

In late March, 19 Ohio State University students and alumni began a landmark week-long fast aimed at exposing the injustices that were enabled through OSU’s continued business with Wendy’s, which culminated in a moving 500-strong march of farmworkers and allies from across the country through Wendy’s hometown of Columbus, OH. That fast became the catalyst for a monumental rolling student fast that spread like wildfire to over a dozen universities, involving hundreds of students throughout the month of April.

Faith leaders and faith communities from across the country stood with these courageous students in their sacrifice by joining in a National Day of Prayer and Fasting on the fifth day of the OSU students’ fast; and penning powerful statements of support, such as those by the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Disciples of Christ, National Farm Worker Ministry, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. And in May, students and professors, faith leaders, food justice and human rights advocates, and community members joined together to take the moral call directly to Wendy’s leadership at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders in Dublin, OH.
 
And yet, Wendy’s continues to disparage the calls for accountability and farm labor justice from farmworkers and consumers alike.

This July, people of faith in Florida — the state with the largest number of Wendy's restaurants in the country — are taking up the students’ fast to draw attention to the impact of Wendy’s inaction. In the long tradition of fasting for social justice, dozens of clergy and their communities begin a month-long rolling fast to prayerfully enjoin Wendy’s to stand with farmworkers in creating dignity in the fields.


FAST UPDATES

Fast update 7/14/2017: Interfaith Worker Justice endorses fast, and participants reflect "I took part in a rolling fast by clergy...I didn't eat any tomatoes. But I had water to drink and a clean bathroom, and I didn't spend the day looking over my shoulder in fear..." 

Fast update 7/25/2017: As Week 4 of the July interfaith fast begins, fasters reflect on “small acts” that grow the movement for Fair Food  “Nearly every day of my life, I have eaten. But today, as I fast, I will pray …"

Fast report 8/1/2017: Photo and video report of the Interfaith Service for Farmworker Justice at Naples UCC "Make us hungry and thirsty for justice..."

These faith leaders have committed to fasting on the following days throughout the month:

7/1 - Rev. Diane Langworthy, New Smyrna Beach UCC

7/3 - Rev. Deborah Kaiser-Cross, Naples UCC

7/4 - Rev. Patricia Carque, UCC

7/5 - Rev. David Minnick, UCC

7/6 - Rev. Ngan Ling Lung, UCC chaplain at Florida Hospital

7/7 - Rev. Leigh McCaffrey, UCC

7/8 - Rev. David Bucey, Ft. Myers Congregational UCC

7/10 - Rev. Alan Coe, Mayflower Congregational UCC in Naples

Nancy Metz, Grace UMC in Cape Coral

7/11 - T'ruah rabbis in Florida

Rev. Clarke Campbell Evans, Director of Missional Engagement, Florida Conference of the UMC

7/12 - Rev. Bob Murphy, UU of Tarpon Springs

Rev. Dr. John Danner, Sanibel Congregational UCC

7/13 - Wesley Snedeker, Student Pastor at Naples UCC

7/14 - Rev. Roy Terry, Cornerstone UMC in Naples

7/15 - Wesley Snedeker, Student Pastor at Naples UCC

7/16 - Rev. John Vertigan, Conference Minister of the UCC Florida Conference

7/17 - Brian McLaren, Christian author, speaker, and activist

Rev. Leslie Etheredge, Western Regional Minister of the UCC Florida Conference 

Nancy Metz, Grace UMC in Cape Coral

7/18 - Rev. Patricia Carque, UCC

7/19 - Rev. Steve Heath, Union Congregational Church in Holly Hill

7/20 - Rev. Beverly Duncan, Naples UCC

Rev. Tony Fisher, UU Congregation of Greater Naples

7/21 - Rev. Susan Sherwood, UCC

Teña T Nock-Hope, Student Pastor at First United Church of Tampa

7/22 - Pastor Andrew Hudson, Covenant Mennonite Fellowship in Sarasota

7/23 - Pastor Andrew Hudson, Covenant Mennonite Fellowship in Sarasota

Joshua Baudin, Youth Minister at St. Mark's Episcopal on Marco Island

7/24 - Bud Schroeder, Naples UCC

Nancy Metz, Grace UMC in Cape Coral

7/25 - Rev. Dr. Jim Boler, UCC

7/26 - Rev. Tom Brenner, UCC

Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, First United Church of Tampa

Dr. Sara Powell, First United Church of Tampa

7/27 - Rev. Deb Kunkel, Sanibel Congregational UCC

Rev. Sandy Boler, UCC

7/28 - Rev. John Rohde, UCC

Rev. Nancy Rohde, UCC

7/29 - Rev. Paul Werner, St. Andrews UCC in Sarasota

7/30 - Interfaith service at 3:00pm at Naples UCC (details)

Public witness at 5:00pm at Wendy's in Naples (details)

Rev. David Kaiser-Cross, Naples UCC

7/31 - Peggy Huddleston, UCC

Nancy Metz, Grace UMC in Cape Coral

Rev. Roger Gruegel, UU Congregation of Greater Naples

Pastor Nancy Amburn, Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ft. Myers

If you identify as a person of faith or conscience in Florida, email us at patricia@allianceforfairfood.org to commit to fast for one or more days in July, write an op/ed or letter to Wendy’s leadership, invite a farmworker to speak in your congregation, or donate what you would have spent on food while fasting to the cause of farmworker justice

Note: Fasting can take on many forms, and we urge those who choose to fast to do so in a way that supports their overall health and well-being. 

SIGN THE PETITION:

Wendy's, we support the Florida Interfaith Fast for Farmworker Justice. Join the Fair Food Program today!

Name *
Name
The Wendy's Company One Dave Thomas Boulevard Dublin, OH 43017 To Mr. Todd Penegor, President and CEO: As consumers of conscience representing various communities across the country, including students and young people, people of faith, human rights advocates, and more, we write to you to express our wholehearted support for the scores of faith leaders across Florida embarking on a month-long interfaith rolling fast for farmworker justice throughout the month of July. Faith leaders are fasting to draw attention to Wendy's continued failure to join the Fair Food Program, and thereby join a proven solution to farmworker exploitation and abuse. Their fast follows a series of courageous student fasts earlier this year seeking to terminate the Ohio State University’s contract with Wendy’s, and also seeks to expose the inconsistency in OSU’s recent decision to renew its contract with a company failing consumers and workers alike in the realm of human rights. Wendy’s stands alone among its competitors in its refusal to participate in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Presidential Medal-winning Fair Food Program (FFP). Your company's rejection of the Program goes beyond the fast food chain’s refusal to join. Following the implementation of the FFP in Florida tomato fields, Wendy’s unconscionably shifted its purchases away from participating farms in Florida to Mexico, where the produce industry is notoriously rife with farmworker abuse and exploitation. Instead of adopting the FFP’s uniquely effective worker-driven, market-enforced model for social responsibility, Wendy’s has championed a hollow Code of Conduct that cuts workers out of the equation and relies on woefully inadequate monitoring or enforcement mechanisms. Wendy’s actions unequivocally fail the basic moral code that prioritizes the human rights of the workers who put food on our tables, and who put money in your coffers. Just as communities of faith across Florida have not and will not allow such actions to go unanswered, neither will we, consumers across the country who understand that true, verifiable protections for farmworkers in Wendy’s supply chain will come not from an empty Code of Conduct but a commitment to the Fair Food Program. Rick Ufford-Chase, former moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and one of the 27 Fair Food supporters who addressed you and your colleagues during Wendy’s shareholder meeting in May, eloquently captured our sentiment: “Your refusal to join the Fair Food Program places you on the wrong side of history. So long as you choose to remain there, the faith community intends to work tirelessly with our ecumenical and interfaith partners to assure that this boycott will be effective. This movement has staying power within our churches.” This movement has staying power within all of our diverse communities, and we’ll continue to disseminate and grow the boycott among consumers until the day that Wendy’s finally decides to join the Fair Food Program. We hope that day comes soon. Mr. Penegor, we urge you to bring Wendy's into the ranks of its fast food peers by joining the Fair Food Program immediately. Respectfully,