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Sold out theaters, standing ovations, and strong reviews greet “Food Chains” national debut!

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Moviegoers at an evening showing of “Food Chains” in Bonita Springs, Florida, rose to their feet as the final credits rolled on the film’s premiere last night.

Review: “Food Chains’ Will Change the Way You Eat”…

“That was the best food documentary I’ve seen yet, and I’ve seen them all!”

Those were the words of one satisfied customer as she headed out of yesterday’s debut screening of the new documentary “Food Chains” at the Prado Stadium 12 Theater in Bonita Springs, Florida.  And she was not alone.  The Bonita showing was sold out, as were other showings in New York, Washington DC and in theaters across the country, where audiences not only showed their appreciation with standing ovations (a rare — and gratifying — occurrence in the context of a local cineplex!), but, in several lucky cities, stuck around for upwards to 40 minutes for talks with the filmmakers and farmworkers.

It was a pretty remarkable debut for the documentary on the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food, and it was fueled, in part, by some very positive reviews around the nation.  Here below are excerpts from a few of those reviews.  Check them out, then get out there and see the film yourself at a theater near you!:

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Moviegoers in Washington, DC, are informed that there are no more tickets for Friday night’s early show.

Mother Jones: “Food Chains” Looks at the Real Cost of Your Cheap Tomatoes

… But Food Chains isn’t just a typical tale of helpless peons getting swallowed by an oppressive system. The film, produced by Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Eva Langoria and narrated by Forest Whitaker, highlights the progress that’s been achieved. Much of the movie traces the arduous and ultimately triumphant push by Florida’s Coalition of Immokalee Workers. After years of organizing, the CIW convinced consumers and companies to pay a “penny-per-pound” premium to tomato pickers and established a code of conduct that bans on-the-job harassment and unpaid labor.

Since 2011, national brands like Burger King and Subway have signed on to the CIW’s Fair Food Program. In January, Walmart joined. And last month, a “Fair Food” label debuted on tomatoes in Whole Foods. Ninety percent of tomato pickers in Florida now benefit from the program. In a state once deemed “ground zero for modern-day slavery,” the CIW reports finding no incidents of forced labor since the program’s inception. So far, buyers have funneled $15 million into the Fair Food Program through the premium, which shows up as a bonus on each worker’s paycheck. “The fact that the CIW was able to create this program in the most hostile environment for farm workers in the US shows me that it’s a model,” says Rawal. “If it works in Florida, it can work anywhere else.”  read more 

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Inc.: ‘Food Chains’ Will Change the Way You Eat: The Eva Longoria-produced documentary serves up an indictment of the U.S. agricultural system

Who is responsible for paying America’s farmworkers a fair wage, the farmers that employ them or the corporations who control pricing all the way down to the bottom of the supply chain?

That is the question posed by Food Chains, a documentary about the immigrant farmworkers who toil in America’s tomato fields earning slightly more than a penny per pound of fruit picked. The movie, which opens Friday, is in many ways a protest film for executive producers Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser, the author of “Fast Food Nation.” Food Chains is the first feature film for director Sanjay Rawal, who previously ran an agricultural genetics company while working in the nonprofit and government sectors.

Like the 2008 documentary Food Inc., which Schlosser also produced, Food Chains is a movie with a mission: reforming an agricultural system that puts profits over people… read more

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Creative Loafing (Tampa): A penny more: Food Chains film highlights CIW, farmworker justice

Around this time 54 years ago, broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow revealed the plight of U.S. farmworkers in his celebrated documentary Harvest of Shame.

And now, a new film titled Food Chains will do the same, premiering 8 p.m. Friday at Tampa’s AMC Veterans 24. The showing is just one of more than 25 across the country.

The documentary — directed by Sanjay Rawal, and co-produced by actress Eva Longoria and journalist Eric Schlosser — revolves around the Fair Food Program, a successful human rights campaign founded by a group of Florida-based farmworkers known as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

In April, CIW member Lupe Gonzalo hosted a talk at downtown St. Pete’s Florida Holocaust Museum, citing her experiences in the state’s tomato fields before the Fair Food Program’s inception.

Gonzalo’s account included spending 10-hour workdays hunched over a bucket trying to meet unreasonable quotas, the constant threat of sexual assault and unfair wages that kept most workers in poverty.

Food Chains, shot primarily in the Interstate-4 corridor, depicts how members like Gonzalo helped develop the program, which establishes legally binding contracts with produce growers and buyers to improve working conditions and wages, and also requires that participating companies’ practices are monitored.

Doing so ensures “their commitments translate into verifiable reforms,” according to the program’s website…  read more

We’ll have more reviews and reports from the film’s first weekend on Monday.  To find a theater near you, head over to the Food Chains website now

 

“This is not a film about oppression, it’s actually a film about transformation”…

  MSNBC, Washington Post and many, many more national media weigh in on “Food Chains” and the movement for Fair Food! The day has finally arrived, and “Food Chains” hits theaters in major cities around the country today.  Ahead of its release, major media outlets have been turning their attention to the film and to the Fair Food movement that is its subject.   The MSNBC interview above is yet another great look at the CIW’s Fair Food Program through the eyes of “Food Chains” Executive Producer Eva Longoria.  Check out the excerpt above, and watch the full 7-minute interview […]

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Must See TV! Eva Longoria talks Fair Food Program, Florida tomatoes, and Food Chains with Stephen Colbert!

1.4 million viewers, millions more on Twitter, learn about the revolution taking place in Florida’s tomato fields as “Food Chains” readies for nationwide release! Tuesday was a good day for Fair Food.   With standing room only screenings of “Food Chains” taking place Tuesday in New York City, New Orleans, and Gainesville, Florida (where over 50 people were turned away at the box office, prompting arrangements for a second screening ASAP!), demand for the release of the new documentary is shooting through the roof.  Meanwhile, media coverage of “Food Chains’” imminent release continues to climb, with dozens of stories on the film — and […]

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Eva Longoria: “I think it’s important for us to get out the message about people who are doing it right.”

  “Let’s buy Florida tomatoes”…  FOOD CHAINS crew releases exclusive new video endorsement of the Fair Food Program and the Florida tomato industry by Executive Director Eva Longoria! With the national theatrical run of the exciting new documentary “Food Chains” just days away, Executive Producer Eva Longoria and the film crew have released an exclusive new video short (above) in which Ms. Longoria shares her thoughts on the Florida tomato industry, the food retailers who are supporting the Fair Food Program, and what consumers who care about farmworker justice can do to help expand and protect farmworkers’ rights. The new video should leave little […]

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Zing! #PublixPilgrims Twitter party crashed by Fair Food Nation…

Two can play the social media game, as dozens of allies join the conversation during Publix’s Thanksgiving Twitter chat, trade recipes for justice rather than turkey! Every year, as soon as the calendar flips to November, a familiar fall tradition begins here in Florida, courtesy of the state’s hometown grocer, Publix.  The supermarket giant’s famously idyllic commercials begin to flood the airwaves, featuring families gathering for the holidays and preparing their Thanksgiving feasts together, the makings of which — we are reminded with several not so subtle shots of the familiar green logo — were purchased at their local Publix.  Telling short stories of long lost relations returning after an absence, or listening in as […]

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it… The 2014 State of the Program Report is online now!

2013-2014 State of the Program Report can be downloaded as a web exclusive ahead of print release later this month… For all the Fair Food Activists, inquisitive journalists, and fans of cold hard facts and razor sharp analysis out there, the day has finally arrived — the 2013-2014 State of the Program Report is a wrap and you can download it here! Beyond its usual assortment of statistics and quantitative measures of compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct across the industry, the report also includes a liberal sprinkling of anecdotal evidence collected in the course of audits and […]

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As its national release nears, “Food Chains” messaging comes into focus…

In a scene that didn’t make the final cut of the film, Walmart joins the Fair Food Program. Documentary a chance for broader audience to learn about the extraordinary success story taking shape in Florida’s fields… “Food Chains” is a film about many things.  Its lens takes a wide angle, 360-degree look at the state of farm labor in this country today, and in the process it focuses on everything from the plight of grape pickers in California’s Napa Valley to our country’s current immigration quagmire, the history of farm labor struggles in the US, the economic dynamics and structure […]

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From Florida to Denver, Wendy’s hears from a fed up Fair Food Nation…

  With the fall picking season just around the corner, farmworkers in Immokalee and Fair Food activists across the country crank up creative Wendy’s actions… Between farmworkers returning to Florida for the start of the new harvest season and allies in cooler climes taking to the streets for vibrant Fair Food protests, it is safe to say that fall is finally here!  And after three great Wendy’s actions last week, you can be fairly certain that the fast food giant is also sensing a change in the air.   The always inspiring Denver Fair Food, pictured above, took advantage of the Day of the Dead holiday to put together a […]

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Bill Maher, Eva Longoria talk “Food Chains,” Fair Food Program on HBO’s Real Time!

HBO show highlights Fair Food Program as “Food Chains” readies for Nov. 21 release… Fair Food activists tuning into HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher were in for a real treat last Friday night, as “Food Chains” Executive Producer Eva Longoria joined Maher for an extended interview on the upcoming documentary, the plight of farmworkers in most of the US today, and the extraordinary advances for human rights that have taken place in Florida’s tomato industry thanks to the Fair Food Program.   Getting ten minutes of airtime on HBO is the kind of mainstream exposure that the Fair Food Program only rarely receives, and […]

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Fair Food Program gets its very own website!

New, stand-alone site explains structure, function of Fair Food Program’s multi-faceted approach to real, measurable social responsibility…  From 2001 to 2010, CIW members traveled the country with the Campaign for Fair Food, educating consumers about the human rights crisis that had plagued Florida’s fields for generations.  Like farmworkers everywhere across the United States, workers in Immokalee faced abuses that ranged from systemic wage theft to rampant sexual harassment and even modern-day slavery.   But through the Campaign for Fair Food, the CIW was able to build a national alliance of conscious, mobilized consumers and, over the course of the last decade, successfully pressure the major corporate buyers […]

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Updates: Human rights crisis in Mexico and “Food Chains” release countdown begins…

“Enough!  Mexico Is Ready to Explode”…   Two weeks ago we brought you an extended analysis of the human rights crisis in Mexico and its impact on the agricultural industry there.  In a post entitled “Fear and Fair Cannot Coexist,” we wrote: Mass graves.  Horribly disfigured corpses.  Police complicity in the ultraviolence of all-powerful drug gangs. Since 2005, stories like these have played out across Mexico’s headlines day after day, month after month, year after year.  But the details of last month’s mass killing and disappearance of student activists in the southern state of Guerrero stood out above the ever-growing […]

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New Fair Food Label takes off!

Excerpt of Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, speaking on Huffington Post Live about the Fair Food label on Food Day.  To watch the full interview, click here. New Fair Food Program label a huge hit in print and social media on Food Day…  The Fair Food Program’s new label debuted this past Friday, and it made quite the splash in the national media and the Twittersphere in the process!  The label, which was nearly five years in the making while the Fair Food Program was hard at work in the fields cleaning up generations of exploitation and abuse, was greeted […]

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“We have waited nearly five years before revealing this label to the world today…”

CIW releases long-awaited Fair Food Label! After four seasons of careful implementation of its unique model of worker-driven social responsibility, including the last three seasons across more than 90% of Florida’s $650 million tomato industry, the CIW is unveiling today the first-ever Fair Food Program label (above).  Its release truly marks a major milestone in the two-decade long journey that farmworkers and consumers have traveled together to bring justice to Florida’s fields (and beyond!). And there is no day more appropriate than Food Day – when people across the country stop to reflect on the future of our food system – to launch an image representing the historic remaking of the Florida tomato industry […]

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This Friday, help us spread the word as we launch the first-ever consumer label of the Fair Food Program!

This Friday, let’s make this Food Day the first-ever Fair Food Day! There are few food labels in the world with a history as deep — or a human rights program as remarkable — as the new Fair Food Program label, ready for its big reveal this coming Food Day, Friday, October 24th.   Indeed, it is an image two decades in the making.  It has been twenty years since farmworkers began organizing in the streets of Immokalee for “dignity, dialogue, and a fair wage”; thirteen years since consumers across the country took a stand, side by side with farmworkers, to hold the world’s largest buyers of Florida […]

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Exclusive new clip, Oscar buzz, more… Let’s check in on “Food Chains” one month out from Nov. 21 national release!

Film industry starting to take notice as Indiewire, Awards Circuit run stories on “Food Chains” ahead of its Thanksgiving release! The theatrical release of a feature film on the Campaign for Fair Food has always seemed, quite honestly, a little surreal, but as we reach the one month mark in the countdown to its November 21st release, it’s becoming more real by the day. Above is an exclusive clip shared with the online industry blog Indiewire for a quick story on the film, presented with this introduction: With all things “organic,” “artisanal,” and “locally sourced” being among the food trends […]

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Divestment? Now there’s an interesting idea for a campaign…

The exciting new documentary “Food Chains” is having an impact even before it’s released, prompting one Berlin Film Festival goer to divest 50,000 shares in Wendy’s after seeing the film… Well this was a surprise.  And a thought-provoking one at that. This week, news reached the CIW via the “Food Chains” crew that a certain Mr. James Scurlock had written to inform them that he had decided to sell his family’s holdings in Wendy’s until the hamburger giant joins the Fair Food Program!   Apparently, Mr. Scurlock had attended the big “Food Chains” premiere in Berlin last February and was so moved by the film and the […]

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