When you walk down the grocery aisle, you’re bound to see any number of stickers and labels – more every passing year – proclaiming the sustainability, fairness, and transparency of a product.

Not surprisingly, one of the most common questions farmworkers in Immokalee get is this:  What’s different about the Fair Food label, anyway?  What makes the Fair Food Program stand out in the field of social responsibility?

Our answer is simple.  The Fair Food Program was built on two key pillars: The leadership of farmworkers, from the design of the program to its monitoring in the fields, and the market-backed enforcement of its human rights standards.  Today we want to talk about the second of those two pillars, and specifically about the group responsible for the FFP’s best-in-class, around-the-clock enforcement, the Fair Food Standards Council, which launched simultaneously with the FFP in 2011. 

The Fair Food Program doesn’t hit pause when the sun goes down, or Friday close of business. We’re there when farmworkers need us, 24/7. Sign up as a Fair Food Sustainer right now to help us keep the lines open.

The FFSC is the behind-the-scenes powerhouse of the Fair Food Program. They ensure that the vision of a more modern, more human agricultural industry designed by farmworkers is made real through on-farm audits and worker education, deep-dive reviews of payroll and other management records, corrective action plans and collaboration with growers, and a 24/7 trilingual hotline for workers – as the Program’s frontline monitors – to call when they need to report a problem.

And the powerhouse behind the powerhouse? The people. The small but mighty staff of the Council are experts in the agricultural landscape. They know the ins and outs of the farms and the industry — from the location, size, and crop of every tucked-away farm field across the vast landscape under their protection, to the most common issues workers face at each farm and even the nicknames of countless crewleaders and farm bosses under their watch — and of course, they know the Fair Food Code of Conduct word for word and how to uncover even subtle infractions. The women and men of the FFSC, in their role as independent human rights monitors, are deeply invested in long-lasting, systemic transformation. 

Here’s what one FFSC staff member said about why his work matters: 

“One of the most gratifying outcomes that I encounter in my work writing reports with the FFSC is when we can document real change from one report to the next – when there’s an issue on a farm that a worker brings forward, and it gets resolved, and the next report shows an improvement in the work environment. 

The fact that we can actually verify with our own eyes and ears that we’re getting results at the farm level feels very unique to the Fair Food Program.  The focus on worker voice and the partnership with CIW  is one of the things that differentiates it from my previous experience in the nonprofit world:  here we’re not just “serving” vulnerable people, we’re helping them amplify their own voices in the workplace and collaborating with growers to make lasting change. “

We’re so grateful for the dependable support of monthly donors that ensures each important element of the Program, including the day-to-day implementation, is sustainable for the long-haul. 

From a 24/7 trilingual hotline, to in-depth field and financial audits, the Fair Food Standards Council powers the enforcement machinery of the Program. Can you give $10 or $20 per month to help keep our vital work going?




Day 6: A Letter from Lupe Gonzalo

June 27, 2022

A note to our community: We’re resuming our Sustainer Drive today. We wanted to ensure that you saw yesterday’s post for our examination of the current moment. Your support this final week makes a difference in helping us build the future of our movement. Thank you for sharing this space with us! ___________________ Today, as we resume this summer’s Sustainer Drive, we want to hand the mic over directly to one of CIW’s longtime leaders, Lupe Gonzalo, who penned a letter on what it means to build power from the bottom up, and why our fight to expand the Fair Food Program […]

A note on the events of the past week…

June 26, 2022

There are no two ways about it: For those of us working to build a more free, safe, and democratic world, the events of this past week have been a dizzying flurry of punches to the head and body politic.  The barrage of far-reaching Supreme Court decisions, on the one hand, and deeply disturbing revelations from the January 6th hearings, on the other, may have been foreseeable for months — even years, now — but to watch it all unfold over the past several days has been no less horrifying for the anticipation.  The unvarnished attack on our rights, and […]

Day 3: “The power of the Program is real. It’s not just something in a book”

June 24, 2022

You know that old saying, “the proof is in the pudding?”  Actually, the full saying is “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Arcane, maybe, but it makes the same simple point that we have been making here in the Fair Food Program for a decade: When it comes to human rights, the proof is in the protections, and, most importantly, in the enforcement of those protections. In other words, a human rights program is only real if it’s actually delivering results, measurable changes that improve people’s lives.  If not, it’s just another flashy website, another gauzy video, another sleek […]

Day 2: “Do the moral thing”

June 23, 2022

When the headlines about a surge of forced labor in agriculture in the United States and Mexico dominated the news, we hoped that Wendy’s – the lone holdout fast-food giant that has still not joined the Fair Food Program – would come to its senses, stop hiding behind ineffective and long-discredited corporate social responsibility practices, and take real, proven measures to protect workers in its supply chain.  Perhaps now, amidst the flood of horrific headlines, the hamburger giant would finally make the moral (and logical) choice to join the Fair Food Program.  But when they didn’t, we took the fight […]

Day 1: A Survivor’s Hope for Farmworkers

June 22, 2022

Our 10-day Fair Food Sustainer campaign starts today! Just days before Thanksgiving last year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a staggering 54-count indictment in Georgia – ”one of the country’s largest-ever human trafficking and visa fraud investigations,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The forced labor case swept up 24 crewleaders, farmers, and guest worker recruiters in just one day of arrests,  and alleged that nearly 72,000 workers had been victimized in a scheme that netted  $200M in illicit profits for the perpetrators. The abuses documented in the indictment were deeply disturbing: Kidnapping. Rape. Forced labor at gunpoint. Death from […]

If you can’t take the heat, take Wendy’s private?…

June 21, 2022

Plot twist in Wendy’s Boycott: Nelson Peltz and Trian Partners “may take the chain private”; Move would avoid growing shareholder scrutiny… As readers of this site know, the past several months have seen an unprecedented surge in shareholder — and consumer — scrutiny of Wendy’s stubborn refusal to follow its fast-food competitors’ lead and sign a Fair Food agreement to bring the Fair Food Program’s gold standard human rights protections to farmworkers in its supply chain.  The first half of 2022 has not been kind to Mr. Peltz and his hedge fund colleagues. A shareholder movement to remove Wendy’s Board Chair Nelson […]

Fair Food Program breaks new ground: Introducing the very first FFP-certified soup!

June 15, 2022

“We are honored to sell the first packaged products in America that contain only Fair Food tomatoes, ensuring that the farm workers who picked those tomatoes were protected against the inhumane treatment that is so common in agriculture.” – Sara Polon, CEO of Soupergirl (pictured above) “We are so proud to sell Soupergirl’s gazpachos at Whole Foods Market and hope more brands and retailers are encouraged to get behind the Fair Food Program mission…” – Erik Brown, Executive Leader of Produce at Whole Foods Market Today the Fair Food Program is celebrating another major milestone: the launch of the first […]

Harvard Law report on 2023 Farm Bill issues full-throated endorsement of the Fair Food Program and its “proven worker-driven enforcement mechanisms”!

June 9, 2022

Harvard-based policy consortium calls on Congress, US Department of Agriculture to help drive expansion of FFP and other WSR initiatives in agriculture: “By incentivizing the growth of WSR [Worker-driven Social Responsibility] initiatives and focusing attention at the “top” of the supply chain — specifically, by preferentially providing the many forms of financial support government provides to those farms that join WSR programs — Congress can advance the twin aims of ending working exploitation and supporting the diversity and vibrancy of the farming sector.” … And on US Department of Labor to collaborate with FFP in protecting farmworkers’ rights to maximize efficiency, […]

“The Trashy Vegan,” Asheville’s beloved, funky fast-food spot, becomes the first restaurant to join the Fair Food Sponsor Program!

June 2, 2022

A few months ago, we welcomed the first food truck to join the fast-growing Fair Food Sponsor Program: The Trashy Vegan, an Asheville, NC, -based food truck known for its 100% vegan takes on classic “trashy” junk food –  including faves like tot burgers, “chicken” sandwiches, and decadent loaded fries. By the end of last year we had signed all the paperwork, and over the past several months the FFP and Trashy Vegan communications teams were gearing up to officially announce our new partnership.  But before we even had the chance to share our news with the world, more great […]

ACTION ALERT: Call Trian Partners TODAY as the Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting is underway!

May 18, 2022

ALSO: Check out the full update from last week’s big action outside Trian Partners headquarters in midtown Manhattan! **************   ************* Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President: “You have changed the landscape of the corporate food system in America through your leadership… But we’ve got one big thing that we need to do together!” From Manhattan’s streets to the pages of the Financial Times — and pretty much everywhere in between — Wendy’s and Nelson Peltz have been hearing from farmworker leaders and their consumer allies, major investors and Wendy’s own shareholders about the urgent need for real human rights protections […]