Over the last decade and a half, farmworkers and their steadfast allies have fought to make the dream of enforceable human rights for farmworkers 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 this work: the leadership and community organizing of farmworkers, the commitment of allies working in partnership with the CIW, and the essential monitoring work of human rights investigators.
Fifteen years ago, a small group of farmworkers and consumers 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 consumer 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 people of faith, students and youth, food justice advocates, grassroots organizations, and every individual who has supported the CIW's vision of justice for farmworkers over the course of the Campaign for Fair Food.
But in many ways, this work is just getting started.
Calls for the expansion of the Fair Food Program to new crops and new states come in weekly; the only real limit to expansion are the resources necessary to sustain growth with the kind of integrity that has become the Program’s hallmark. The growing Campaign for Fair Food represents a central pillar on which the Fair Food Program rests, bringing on board major food retailers and holding them accountable to the conditions faced by workers in their supply chain. Further, the Fair Food Program is proof of a new concept in human rights, Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR), with the potential to bring verifiable human rights protections to millions of workers in even more industries.
To sustain and expand each of these pieces of our collective work, the CIW, the AFF, and the Fair Food Standards Council are calling on the national network of allies that has fought for fifteen years in the streets to make the Fair Food Program a reality—not just for support in action, but for financial support, too.
So today, we are launching the Fair Food Sustainer Program.
With a steady stream of monthly contributions, 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 of consumer 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.
And from the base of an ever more successful Fair Food Program, the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model can develop and take root in more and more communities of low-wage workers across the country and around the globe.
Whether it is with a sustaining donation of $500 or $5 a month, 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.