TODAY: Donate to help build a future of dignity, fairer wages, and respect for workers' rights in the fields and beyond!

As 2022 winds to a close, we want to take a moment to reflect with you on 10 incredible years of unprecedented human rights progress under the Fair Food Program, and under the broader model for human rights protections to which the FFP gave rise, the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model, as well.  And we want to look to the future, too.

First, we need to set the scene.  Nearly thirty years ago, farmworkers in Immokalee began meeting in a borrowed room at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to discuss the abuses and exploitation they faced every day in the fields, and how they could come together to build a fairer agricultural industry.  Combining everything from radio broadcasts on the CIW's community station, Radio Conciencia, to street theater illuminated by truck headlights staged in open lots across the community, farmworkers in the small, dusty crossroads town of Immokalee built the foundation of consciousness and commitment needed for real, sustainable change.

Nearly 20 years later, in 2011, that foundational work gave rise to the Fair Food Program, a groundbreaking approach to worker-led human rights monitoring and enforcement that has, over the ensuing decade, achieved results that would have been simply unimaginable for generations of farmworkers.  Over the past 10 years, the FFP has effectively eliminated a wide range of extreme abuses in the fields — longstanding human rights violations, from sexual assault to modern-day slavery — and drastically reduced many more common, less egregious farm labor abuses, from wage theft to health and safety violations.  And it has done so through the leadership of tens of thousands of workers in the fields, in partnership with dozens of major growers and 14 of the largest food buyers in the world, whose purchasing power is harnessed by workers, every hour of every day, to report violations without fear of retaliation.  Through this pioneering program, workers have uncovered countless abuses and identified hundreds of bad actors, chipping away, complaint by complaint, audit by audit, at all the agricultural industry's rough edges, leaving a more modern, more humane industry standing in its stead in Florida — and in fields now stretching across nine other states and multiple crops.

Now, we need your help to build the future of the Fair Food Program. Our goal is to raise $100,000 by year's end in order to strengthen our movement for farmworkers' fundamental human rights. Are you able to contribute $10 toward our campaign today? 

Not only has the CIW pioneered a new form of human rights protections in the Fair Food Program over the past 10 years, we have also vigorously supported organizations across the country and around the globe in adapting the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model to the industries where they work -- on dairy farms, at construction sites, and in textile factories, just to name a few.  And in 2023, we will be stretching our efforts even further, building on a burgeoning partnership with an international federation of unions, human rights organizations, and major retail food brands to establish a pilot "Fair Fish Program" for migrant fishers in the United Kingdom, and breaking new ground in the cut flower greenhouses and produce fields of Chile, South Africa, and Mexico.

Just as we were determined to transform the tomato industry 30 years ago, today we are determined to build a world in which every worker has the opportunity to enjoy enforceable human rights protections at work – because we know the FFP and WSR models work, and because we know that, even right here in Florida, just beyond the reach of the Fair Food Program's protections, forced labor, wage theft, sexual harassment and assault, and other egregious human rights abuses remain unchecked.  Indeed, just a few months ago, the federal government brought yet another modern-day slavery ring to justice in the case of US vs. Moreno – a harrowing forced labor operation that the CIW, once again, uncovered and helped investigate. 

And for each modern-day slavery case the CIW and federal prosecutors bring to light, many, many more untold stories of suffering and abuse continue in the dark. 

After 30 years of tireless organizing in Immokalee and a decade of the Fair Food Program's documented results, we have a proven solution.  We must now expand our efforts and build a future in which all women and men who harvest our food are free from forced labor, free from abuse, and accorded the respect and dignity they deserve.  And through the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model and its own track record of success on now three continents, we can extend those same protections and dignity at work to millions of more workers around the globe.

But we can't do it alone.  In order to turn this vision — and promise — of a better world into a reality, here in the U.S. and around the world, the CIW urgently needs your support.

Help us build the future of human rights. 
Click here to make a gift to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers today!




Part Two: Daring Investigation Reveals Horrendous Working Conditions in EFI/FTUSA Certified Farms in Mexico

December 2, 2022

Groundbreaking academic investigation into labor conditions on farms certified under the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) and Fair Trade USA (FTUSA) uncovers rampant abuse, wage theft, and retaliation against farmworkers in Mexico. Anonymous farmworker on EFI: “The representatives of the EFI group are people close to [allegadas] the bosses or the foremen.” Excerpt from statement by workers at Rancho Nuevo Produce: “Rancho Nuevo, where the Fair Trade and Equitable Food Initiative certifications exist to sell the produce more expensive in the United States without bettering the working conditions and the treatment of the worker.” Over the past several years, a growing body […]

This Giving Tuesday, support expansion of the Fair Food Program!

November 29, 2022

Every day, over two million farmworkers labor in U.S. fields to harvest the food we eat. Whether it is a fall feast or a New Year’s dinner party, we all rely on the back-breaking work of farmworkers, who far too often toil under perilous conditions: Working at a break-neck pace under the heat of the sun, workers are exposed to wage theft, harassment, and assault with few to no consequences for abusers. And at worst, as we have been painfully reminded by multiple forced labor prosecutions this past year, farmworkers are subjected to modern-day slavery in the fields.  But the […]

Part One: New Academic Article Highlights the Success of the WSR Model in Securing Dignity in the Fields

November 21, 2022

Business and Human Rights Journal: “…WSR programs are better at enforcement than corporate-established initiatives, resulting in real-life improvements for workers.” “The Fair Food Program’s recent expansion to several new states and crops suggests that more companies are seeing its value.” “…the short time frames for complaint resolution in the Fair Food Program (51 per cent of cases resolved within 13 days) and the Milk with Dignity Program (6 days median time to resolution in 2019, down to 2 days in 2020) are far superior to other available remedial systems – such as litigation or complaints to regulatory agencies.” In a time when consumers are […]

Forced Labor, Thousands of Deaths, Ahead of World Cup in Qatar Are a Reminder that Exploitation Knows No Boundaries

November 16, 2022

Despite centuries of struggle to end the abhorrent practice, forced labor has evolved and survived, and remains a pillar of the global economy. Guardian (UK): “6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since World Cup awarded…” Associated Press: “My manager just said, ‘I don’t care what they said in Bangladesh. We are giving you this salary and nothing more. If you keep talking like this I’ll tell them to cancel your visa and send you back’.” Click here to take action today to help workers in Qatar and their families receive the compensation they deserve. Fans all over the world […]

BREAKING: Justice Department Announces 3 Florida Farm Bosses “Sentenced in Multi-State Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Forced Labor” of H-2A Workers

November 2, 2022

“These defendants exploited their victims’ vulnerabilities and immigration status, promising them access to the American dream but then turning around and confiscating their passports and threatening arrest and deportation if they did not endlessly toil away for their profit,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “Using coercive, deceptive and fraudulent practices to exploit individuals’ immigration status to engage in a pattern of forced labor for financial gain is appalling,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg for the Middle District of Florida. “Thanks to the diligent work by our human trafficking task force partners, this criminal […]

Fair Food Program on the Podcast playlist: CIW’s Gerardo Reyes Chavez and Greg Asbed on building a successful human rights movement…

October 28, 2022

Gerardo Reyes Chavez and Greg Asbed, two key, longtime leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), were interviewed in separate podcasts recently about the history of the CIW, the origins of the groundbreaking Fair Food Program and Worker-driven Social Responsibility model, and the continuing struggle for human rights in corporate supply chains in the fields and beyond. CIW’s Asbed was interviewed in July for Fluent in Floridian, a podcast featuring Florida leaders speaking “about the issues most important to the people of Florida.”  And early this month, Reyes was invited as a guest on Chutzpod!, a weekly podcast hosted […]

Neighbors helping neighbors: Immokalee farmworkers mobilize for hurricane relief in Fort Myers, Arcadia worker communities!

October 20, 2022

Two weeks ago, the second-deadliest storm to make landfall in the U.S. this century landed in Florida — and not just anywhere in Florida, but in Southwest Florida, Immokalee’s very own corner of the Sunshine State.  Miraculously, Immokalee itself was fortunate this time, as Florida’s largest farmworker community managed to dodge Hurricane Ian’s worst blows.  But by the fierce logic of monster storms like Ian, Immokalee’s good fortune would necessarily be another community’s worst nightmare, and on this occasions the neighboring towns of Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Arcadia, Cape Coral, and even Naples absorbed the full force of Ian’s 155 […]

Fort Myers: “Our entire community is wiped out”

October 3, 2022

Support working families affected by Hurricane Ian Dear friends, The unprecedented devastation caused by Hurricane Ian’s lethal combination of rain, wind, and record storm surge has left coastal communities of Southwest Florida in shambles, with countless families losing everything they have and far too many losing their loved ones. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and pain felt across the state right now. As the death toll continues to rise – alongside emerging questions about the leadership decisions that contributed to the storm’s catastrophic consequences to life and property for thousands of people – the coastal communities near us […]

The nation’s only organic vertical farm partners with the Fair Food Program!

September 27, 2022

Halton Peters, Co-founder and President of Hardee Fresh: “We want to be the best steward of the environment in the agricultural industry and the best citizen in the communities in which we live and work. Participation in the Fair Food Program furthers our pursuit of our goals and is just the most recent expression of our longstanding core beliefs.” Leonel Perez, CIW: “We’re excited to welcome Hardee Fresh into the Program, and to show once again that, when there is mutual commitment, the Fair Food Program can be successfully adapted to nearly any crop and farming environment.” Today, we’re excited to […]

Will Aussies welcome Wendy’s after learning about its morally suspect human rights record?

September 21, 2022

As Wendy’s sets its eyes on expansion to Australia, the fast-food chain’s reputation as a human rights laggard precedes it, making waves Down Under… The Brag Media: “… several high-profile cases of what has been called modern-day slavery on farms in the US and Mexico have demonstrated exactly why accountability is needed for corporations who seek to further exploitation at any chance they can.” In recent months, Wendy’s has declared its intention to expand its quick-service burger business to Australia.  But even before securing its first franchisee in the Lucky Country, news has been traveling far and wide about Wendy’s disregard for farmworkers’ human rights […]