Scores of students, youth gather in Immokalee for #2018Encuentro, launch plans for nationwide Wendy’s Boycott actions!

Students escalate campaigns to boot Wendy’s off college campuses from Michigan to Philadelphia; put finishing touches on upcoming “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action, Oct. 22-28…

PLUS:  Over 150 farmworkers and allies flood sidewalk on U.S. 41 in Estero, FL, for dazzling Wendy’s Boycott protest…

Ushering in the beginning of the fall season, Immokalee hosted over 80 students and youth last week for this year’s Student/Farmworker Alliance Encuentro.  Traveling from over 35 communities across the country, and even from as far as Mexico City, Encuentro participants gathered in Immokalee, the birthplace of the CIW and the heart of the Fair Food movement, for an extraordinary weekend of building strategy and community with farmworkers and with each other.

Today, we bring you the report straight from from the Student/Farmworker Alliance, replete with beautiful photos, to get you fired up for the fall season of the Wendy’s Boycott!

The Encuentro weekend brimmed with conversations rooted in compañerismo and commitment from beginning to end, paving the way  for SFAers to create long-term strategies for transformative change in our food system and lay down commitments for the upcoming “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action from Oct. 22-28. While gathered in Immokalee, we reflected on the tremendous power and responsibility we as students and young consumers have in holding corporations and our institutions to account for shameful business practices.

And, we channeled our inspiration into action with a loud and energized protest outside of a local Wendy’s in Estero, FL!

Today, we bring you a day-by-day recap of the Encuentro weekend, interwoven with beautiful photos from some of our favorite moments. Here’s what went down at the 2018 SFA Encuentro:

Day One: Thursday, Sept. 20

The powerful women leaders of the CIW Women’s Group (pictured below) opened the weekend with a warm bienvenida to the Coalition’s colorful Community Center during the opening ceremony, which set a grounding tone for the rest of the long weekend. As dusk fell upon the dusty town of Immokalee, participants introduced themselves by sharing stories of courage, love and resistance, while assembling a community altar made up of items representing the people and movements that had ultimately helped to carry them to the Encuentro.

Day Two: Friday, Sept. 21

Participants rose bright and early for a day filled with clever and often hilarious popular theater skits by members of the CIW, presentations around the inner workings of the Fair Food Program and Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network, and skill-building workshops to prepare for another busy season in the national Wendy’s boycott. The CIW’s newest teatro sheds light on the exploitation faced by farmworkers in greenhouse operations and Wendy’s shady auditing practices that fail to deliver real protections against abuses without enforcement and monitoring.  To cap off an exciting Day 2, we learned from SFA veterans about their organizing experiences and strategies deployed during earlier SFA campaigns, including Boot the Bell and Dine with Dignity, and prepared to use  their recipes to help craft the next steps in the Campaign.

CIW opens up the Encuentro on Friday morning with a theater piece, exposing the fallacy of Wendy’s claims that greenhouses are “inherently” safe work environments.

Day Three:  Saturday, Sept. 22

On Day 3, participants took a deep dive into campaign strategy sessions: crafting creative actions for “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action, and planning to ramp up efforts to “Boot the Braids” this semester across eight campuses — Florida Atlantic University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Florida, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, and Temple University.

By midday on Saturday, Round Two of skill-building workshops set to help participants put into practice community organizing skills to bring Wendy’s into the Fair Food Program once and for all… and then, it was time for action!

The crowd swelled to over 150 people as members of Call to Action Southwest Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University SFA joined Encuentro participants for a lively Wendy’s Boycott picket in Estero… Read more!

Head over to the Student/Farmworker Alliance website for many beautiful photos and the full report from the 2018 Encuentro!