Wash Post op/ed on Fair Food Program:

Wash Post op/ed on Fair Food Program: “The CIW model is one of the great human rights success stories of our day.

Photos and reports from the Publix Labor Day of Action continue to roll in, including this one from Miami where participants report that a substantial group of students and South Florida community members delivered over 100 handwritten letters calling for Publix to join the Fair Food Program to a surprised management team.


Labor Day editorials shine light on the Fair Food Program, need for supermarkets to do their part for justice!

While farmworkers and Fair Food allies were busy taking the fight for Fair Food to Publix this past Labor Day weekend, the editorial department of papers from the Washington Post to the Lakeland Ledger were sending their own message of support for the Campaign for Fair Food and the need for supermarkets to get on board without further delay.

Throughout this week we will share three Labor Day editorials that focused on the Fair Food Program, beginning today with a piece that ran in the Washington Post this past Monday entitled “Fair Food Program helps end the use of slavery in the tomato fields”. It was written by Holly Burkhalter, Vice President for Government Relations at the International Justice Mission (IJM), the faith-based human rights organization dedicated to “ending violence against the poor” around the globe (loyal readers of this site may remember that IJM launched a campaign this past 4th of July in support of the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food entitled Recipe for Change).

It is a must-read analysis of the intersection between the Fair Food Program and the CIW’s anti-slavery work, and how success in the fight against slavery here in the US strengthens the country’s voice in its efforts to end slavery overseas. The piece calls on supermarket industry leaders to end their resistance to the Fair Food Program’s historic human rights advances, and even raises a intriguing new prospect for the further expansion of those advances. The conclusion is particularly moving:

“… The CIW model is one of the great human rights success stories of our day. But the Fair Food Program won’t be sustainable unless the largest buyers of tomatoes — grocery stores — reward the growers in the program with their purchases and pay the price premium. Despite years of pressure from the CIW and from consumers, major supermarket chains including Ahold, Kroger’s and Publix have snubbed the Fair Food Program. They prefer their private production codes, which don’t benefit from the Fair Food Standards Council’s independent monitoring and evaluation.

But these private buyers aren’t the only major purchasers of Florida tomatoes who have yet to sign on to the Fair Food Program. President Obama should set an example to private buyers by announcing that from now on, the tomatoes the U.S. Agriculture Department purchases for the school lunch programs and for market stabilization will be purchased from the Fair Food Program.

This Labor Day, like every other day, the world’s most exhausting, dangerous, poorly paid and degrading jobs are being performed by the world’s most impoverished and vulnerable people. But that is not true anymore in Immokalee. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has changed Florida and U.S. agriculture for the better. May their brilliant model flourish and inspire producers, buyers, consumers and workers in every industry where labor slavery persists.” read more

Don’t miss this great editorial, and come back soon for more, as next time we see what Publix executives in the company’s hometown of Lakeland, Florida, read when they opened their morning paper this past Labor Day!