2012 Thanksgiving Week of Supermarket Action Report

Media links (scroll down for photos):

The Independent Florida Alligator, “Activists protest outside Publix to push for better farmworker wages,” 11/20/12

“… Many will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with food, but some Gainesville activists are concerned about the hands that gather that feast.

Members of the Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice, along with some students and local religious leaders, protested outside of a Gainesville Publix on Monday to push for better wages for some Florida farmworkers.

The alliance organized the event as part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers Thanksgiving Week of Action, which aims to persuade Publix Super Markets executives to agree to pay more for tomatoes from Immokalee.” read more

The Columbus Dispatch, “Local activists try to enlist grocer in fight,” 11/19/12

“Jessica Shimberg of Upper Arlington stops scrolling as a picture of a man’s hands rolls onto the screen of her laptop.

The hands, blackened from working the fields, hold four green tomatoes. That’s the image, she says, that compelled her to spend her 47th birthday in Immokalee, Fla., listening to the plight of the people who pick the tomatoes she buys at her local grocery store.

Shimberg is among the newest members of a central Ohio alliance working on behalf of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, tomato pickers seeking to raise awareness about low wages and strenuous field conditions.

‘There is a lot of the kind of conditions you and I would not dream of occurring in the United States,’ said Shimberg, spiritual-life coordinator at the Little Minyan Reconstructionist Jewish community on the Northwest Side. ‘That’s what was so disturbing to me.’

A rabbinical student, she visited Immokalee last month with Rabbis for Human Rights-North America after seeing the photo and reading about the workers in Gourmet magazine.

Shimberg joined Ohio Fair Food members at a Kroger store in Clintonville yesterday to demonstrate out front and present a manager with a petition. The gathering was part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ nationwide “Thanksgiving Week of Supermarket Action.”

Before explaining the cause to the manager, Shimberg and about 10 others joined in prayer and song around a tomato display at the store.” read more

The Bradenton Herald, “Area congregations ask Publix to join Fair Food Table during Holidays,” 11/24/12

“Unitarian Universalists have a long history of standing up for the oppressed in our society,” said Kindra Muntz, Issues for the Common Good Committee co-chair at the Venice congregation. “Our church and many others have contributed to the Immokalee Workers for many years, but just giving money doesn’t solve the problem. We need to address the problems systemically and not just keep on helping with gifts and money.”

Approximately 30 events, similar to that in Venice, took place at Publix locations in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee the week prior to Thanksgiving.” read more

Examiner, “Fair Food Advocates step up Kroger campaign for Thanksgiving,” 11/20/12

“Kroger customers were overwhelmingly supportive of the week’s actions,” said Sameerah Ahmad, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center. “The community will keep working until Kroger joins the 11 other major companies in signing a fair food agreement to support our farm workers.”

Various groups, including religious and labor allies, will be gathering signatures within their constituencies over the coming weeks, Ahmad said.

“We’re not protesting. We’re not boycotting. We’re inviting,” said rabbinical student Jessica Shimberg on Sunday afternoon to a group of about 20 CIW supporters outside the Clintonville Kroger store in Columbus. “We don’t want to have an adversarial relationship with Kroger. We want to partner with them to ensure that the human rights of Florida farm workers are protected.” read more

Civil Eats, CIW vs. Publix: “Remembering Farmworkers on Thanksgiving,” 11/20/1

Gainesville Iguana, “Gainesville residents to protest Publix during nationwide Thanksgiving Week of Action,” 11/18/12

Ledger-Enquirer, “Tomato pickers protest outside Phenix Publix,” 11/18/12

People’s World, “Farmworkers, Allies demand Publix sign agreement with Immokalee workers,” 11/21/12

Nashville Fair Food Blog, “Churches to Publix: Come to the Thanksgiving Table!


Columbus, Ohio (Ohio Fair Food), outside Kroger

Sarasota, Florida New College

Lakeland, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Fair Food activists carry thousands of pennies to Publix:

Atlanta, Georgia at Publix

Venice, Florida, Unitarian Universalists Congregation

Columbus, Ohio, (Ohio Fair Food) Pray-in at Kroger

Denver, Colorado, street theater outside King Soopers (Kroger)

Miami, Florida, Florida International University at Publix

Gainesville, Florida

Albuquerque, New Mexico outside Smith’s (Kroger)

Washington, DC outside Giant (Ahold)

Washington, DC inside Giant

Nashville, Tennessee outside Kroger

Tampa, Florida outside Publix

Phenix City, Alabama