Photo Report: Fair Food Partners step up as workers step out on the March!
Marcher Santiago Perez, left, is greeted by representatives of Pacific Tomato Growers at a stop along the March for Rights, Respect, and Fair Food route yesterday in Palmetto.
On Day Nine, the march route passed directly by the Palmetto packing house of Pacific Tomato Growers, one of the state's largest and oldest tomato companies and, as it happens, the very first grower to sign a Fair Food agreement.
The CIW's agreement with Pacific was a landmark moment in farm labor history in Florida, marking the first time a major grower formally recognized the need for real change -- a recognition memorialized in Jon Esformes' words at the press conference, where he quoted the late philosopher and rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, saying, 'Few are guilty, but all are responsible' and added, in his own words, in reference to past labor abuses, "The transgressions that took place are totally unacceptable today and they were totally unacceptable yesterday."
That recognition, coupled with Pacific's agreement to work in partnership with the CIW to improve farm labor conditions, paved the way for the rest of the tomato industry to follow suit and join the Fair Food Program just one month later. All of which made for remarkably moving -- and historic -- stop on yesterday's route as the marchers continued their way north to Tampa and their final destination at Publix headquarters in Lakeland.
So, check out the photo report from Day Nine of the March, and a great new video, below, from a community celebration for the marchers in Bradenton on Day Eight that doubles as a powerful invitation to all allies to join us for the culmination of the march: