Democracy Now: “We’ve come here to demand that Publix and Kroger — which is directly connected to the situation of modern slavery in Pahokee; they bought watermelons from there — and Wendy’s, for them to join the Fair Food Program and put an end to the extreme labor abuses in this country,” Gerardo Reyes Chavez

Fox News 29: "U.S. Rep Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, who joined in the march, said: 'We have to eat to stay alive and we should make sure these workers are paid fairly and in just conditions. This is about encouraging all our local merchants to participate in the Fair Food Program and that’s really going to ensure safer conditions. And we can eat with a smile on our face.'"

Day 5 of the March to Build a New World was SO big that it required two updates to capture all the action, images, and media coverage!  And even after today's second update, there will still be more to come from the momentous march for farmworker freedom.  

You can find Part 1 of the Day 5 update here.

In today's update, we bring you the big video wrap-up from Day 5, and the first installment of the Day 5 media round-up, as there are stories from the march's final day that are still pending publication.

For now, we will let the Day 5 video and the media reports speak for themselves.  But be sure to check back again in the days ahead for a final reflection on the march, a look from a slight remove in time and space at all its highlights, its challenges and contradictions, and at the unconscionable refusal of companies like Wendy's, Kroger and Publix to recognize the shameful surge in exploitation and abuse in the fields today -- abuse crystalized in the slavery prosecution that provided the starting point for the march -- and their role, and responsibility, in putting an end to the abuse.  

What does it say, for example, about the state of social responsibility and respect for human rights in corporate supply chains today that a company the size of Kroger can refuse to even comment when the US Department of Labor directly and publicly identifies Kroger as one of the companies that purchased the watermelons picked by workers held against their world and forced to work in the case of US v. Moreno?  

And worse still, what are we to make of Kroger's commitment to human rights when the company stubbornly maintains that silence even as hundreds of workers and consumers launch a 5-day march -- from the very place where those workers were held against their will, and where two of those workers were obliged to hide in the trunk of a car to escape the labor camp and call the CIW to report the abuse -- to demand that Kroger acknowledge the brutal reality of modern-day slavery in the fields today and join the Fair Food Program to help confront it?  

And, finally, as if one case of forced labor weren't enough to move the company to comment -- much less join the program recognized by law enforcement agencies across the US government today as the gold standard for fighting modern-day slavery -- what are consumers to think about Kroger when they realize that the Pahokee case was not the first instance in which Kroger was connected to a law enforcement action against forced labor, but the second since December 2021?

We will reflect on these questions, and more, in our final post on the March to Build a New World in the days ahead, but for now, enjoy the video and initial media round-up from the huge final day of the march.  And, of course, all of us here in Immokalee send our most heartfelt thanks to all the countless people across the state and around the country who helped make the unforgettable march possible, whether it was by joining us in the street, donating resources that fueled us along the way, or sending much-loved messages of solidarity that gave the marchers energy and enthusiasm to continue their 50-mile trek!




DAY 5: Marchers quintuple in number on final day of March to Build a New World, take Palm Beach by storm with message of farmworker freedom!

March 20, 2023

Nearly 600 workers, allies come together on final day of March to Build a New World to celebrate decade of human rights progress, call on Wendy’s, Kroger, and Publix to do their part to help end modern-day slavery and other outrageous abuses in agricultural industry, here and abroad! Student: “What you have done, and what you will do, is just the beginning of a better and brighter future for us all.  Justice is incredibly hard to achieve and to maintain, yet it is not impossible.  You have proven that, and will continue to do so.” The March to Build a […]

DAY 4: From labor camps to luxury yachts, modern-day slavery to latter-day robber barons, marchers travel across 48 miles, 2 worlds, in quest for farmworker freedom…

March 18, 2023

Washington Post (AP): “Now workers enjoy the right to complain without fear of retaliation. Workers also have water and shade as part of these agreements,” said Gerardo Reyes Chavez, a coalition official, at the start of the march in Pahokee. “The [Fair Food] program has proven to be the solution, the antidote to the problem of modern day slavery, the problem of sexual assault, and the problems that have always plagued the agricultural industry.” With Day 4 a wrap, farmworkers and their allies prepare for huge finale of 5-day, 50-mile march.  Join us in Palm Beach for the 2-mile final […]

Day 3: Support for farmworker freedom swells as marchers inch closer to the coast; YOU can still join us for the grand finale, Saturday, 3/18!

March 17, 2023

  La Jornada (Mexico): [translation below] Una marcha de cinco días de decenas de jornaleros de la Coalición de Trabajadores de Immokalee (CIW, por sus siglas en inglés) en Florida, festeja el décimo aniversario del Programa de Comida Justa que ha transformado las condiciones de trabajadores agrícolas y es modelo para conquistar el respeto de derechos laborales básicos, y a la vez demandar el fin de la esclavitud moderna en los campos de Estados Unidos… [A five-day march of dozens of farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokale Workers (CIW) in Florida, celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Fair Food Program that […]

Day 2: Rain, cold fail to dampen marchers’ spirits as farmworkers, allies move one day closer to march goal, one giant leap closer to new world of farmworker freedom!

March 16, 2023

Palm Beach Daily News: “Over 80% of farmworker women in this country report experiencing sexual harassment and assault, but not on Fair Food Program farms. Forced labor prosecutions are surging in the South today, but not on Fair Food Program farms. And systemic wage theft, dangerous working conditions, and harsh verbal abuse are the daily bread of tens of thousands of farmworkers from here to California, but not on Fair Food Program farms.” Lupe Gonzalo, CIW WGCU FM (National Public Radio, Ft. Myers): “I think we have to respect where our food comes from and to (give) justice to the people […]

DAY 1: Over 100 workers, allies launch 5-day march to celebrate decade of human rights progress, Build a New World of farmworker freedom!

March 15, 2023

Check out the video, photos, and media round-up from Day 1 of the Build a New World March! Fast Company: “Lupe Gonzalo had been harvesting tomatoes, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and other crops for a little over a decade when, one day in 2011, workers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers showed up at her farm. CIW, a worker-led human rights organization in Immokalee, Florida, was there to hold an education session for the farmworkers. ‘They started to talk about our rights, and the changes being implemented in the fields,’ Gonzalo says, speaking through a translator. ‘And it was something that […]

One day before we launch our 5-day trek from Pahokee to Palm Beach, national media are celebrating the CIW’s March for Farmworker Freedom

March 13, 2023

Truthout: “There are few human rights achievements that are so universally celebrated today as the farmworker-led Fair Food Program.” Civil Eats: “Created 10 years ago, the program has been credited with markedly improving conditions in agricultural fields for workers on the East Coast, including reducing the instances of sexual assault and improving wages and working conditions.” You can be a part of the movement for freedom in the fields by participating in the grand finale on March 18 in Palm Beach. Fair Food Nation – we are just one day away from kicking off the Build a New World March!   […]

Archbishop Wenski: “Your efforts to shed light on this egregious [forced labor case in Pahokee] through the Build a New World March are God’s work”

March 10, 2023

Archbishop Thomas Wenski: “Even as I extend my congratulations, it is with a heavy heart that I must also recognize the plight of farmworkers who do not yet labor in the light of justice & dignity.” “Many years ago, we took another long walk together, & my words still ring true: ‘In this long march of ours, there is no tiredness. You may feel tired, your feet may be tired, but you’re not tired for seeking justice, for seeking a better life for all our brothers & sisters.’” In just a few days, farmworkers from Immokalee and their allies will […]

Florida students visit Immokalee to celebrate booting Wendy’s from campus, mobilize for the Build A New World March!

March 7, 2023

  UF Student/Farmworker Alliance on booting Wendy’s from campus: “While it’s important we celebrate our victories, the fight for fair food is never over! We continue to keep our end goal in mind: an end to exploitation and abuse in our food system.” We are just one week away from the Build a New World March, and the CIW Community Center is bustling with art, march supplies, and people, too, from across the state and around the country, as visitors and volunteers begin arriving in Immokalee to help with preparations for next week’s big action! Among the new faces filling […]

New academic article offers scientific modeling of how FFP, WSR can stop modern-day slavery in global supply chains

March 3, 2023

Academic Study: “Over 50 million people in the world live in a situation of modern slavery, the most extreme form of labour exploitation…” “[The Fair Food Program] is unique in the sense that it has been developed and deployed by the workers themselves and has gained a wide acceptance among buyers and farmers. It therefore follows a truly sustainable approach because it is not dependent on some CSR goodwill…” “To conclude, we can answer our research question as follows. We find that a well-designed programme using market-based incentives has a strong potential to jointly combat modern slavery and bring positive […]

Three ways to participate in the upcoming “Build A New World” March!

February 28, 2023

1) Join us for the 2-mile grand finale on March 18 at 10:30am in Palm Beach, FL! 2) Donate to help offset the cost of transportation, supplies, art creation and meals for an action of this magnitude!  3) Write a message of solidarity for the 100+ farmworkers and allies who are embarking on the 5-day, 45-mile Build A New World March!  On March 14th, just two weeks from today, more than 100 farmworkers and their consumer allies will be stepping off from the small agricultural community of Pahokee — launching the march in the street outside the labor camp where dozens of […]