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2017 Fair Food Program Report goes behind the numbers to reveal deeper trends in compliance, enforcement…

Tucked away in the 2017 Fair Food Program Report’s voluminous compilation of context, data, and analysis — an overview of which we provided in Tuesday’s post — are a handful of graphs and passages that tell the story behind the raw data.  This deeper analysis does something earlier annual reports did not do: It takes a look at the trends in compliance and enforcement over the entire six-season history of the Fair Food Program and pulls out lessons about how actual change on the ground on Fair Food Program farms was achieved over that period.  It marks a new level of analysis and transparency in reporting and confirms the importance of the enforcement-focused, market-driven approach at the heart of the Fair Food Program.

This new level of analysis is captured in two key measures: results (the ebb and flow of compliance on participating farms over time) and complaints (the changing nature of, and cooperation in resolving, complaints over time).  We will begin with results.

i. Results…

The section that makes up the bulk of the annual report, entitled “Results,” begins with several paragraphs of introduction.  Here is an excerpt:

Throughout the Fair Food Program’s first six seasons, FFSC has maintained detailed records of its monitoring efforts, tracking data from all audits and complaint investigations. For each standard included in the Fair Food Code of Conduct (see Appendix A), FFSC grades both individual grower performance and industry averages, based upon metrics developed to gauge compliance. This mapping provides an accurate reflection of Program trends and effectiveness…

… FFSC’s evaluation of the Fair Food Program began in the Program’s infancy, when the industry was defined more by its deficiencies in Code compliance than its accomplishments. For this reason, previous annual reports evaluated compliance on a year-to-year basis, focusing on granular examples and advances between individual seasons, each of which represented unprecedented gains. Indeed, between Seasons 1 and 4 (November 2011 through October 2015), most Participating Growers’ operations were dramatically transformed, achieving high levels of compliance across all areas of evaluation.

By the beginning of Season 5 (2015-16), the Program had entered a new moment, defined less by the need for fundamental change than the task of sustaining remarkable gains already achieved. In a period of economic challenges for the industry, slight declines in compliance were noted. Due to the Program’s ability to thoroughly address these issues through a rigorous corrective action process, however, Season 6 (2016-17) represented the highest Program-wide compliance level to date.

The report then translates those paragraphs into a single graph, charting the progress of average compliance scores across Seasons One-Six.

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