Campaign for Fair Food at the 2009 Food & Society Conference!…

Also… Must-read op/ed: "Farmworker wages still the issue"

This week, representatives of the CIW, the Student/Farmworker Alliance and Just Harvest USA traveled to San Jose, California — the town where Cesar Chavez first started organizing in 1952 — for the 2009 Food & Society conference, an annual gathering that seeks "to identify ways to improve our economy, environment, and society through Good Food Systems."

Over the course of the conference, they met with leading advocates for sustainable food and agriculture from across the country to discuss the importance of Fair Food in the movement for good food. In the picture above, Gerardo Reyes of the CIW helps lead a workshop on the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food. The campaign was a popular topic at the two-day conference, and the CIWApe delegation came back to Florida with a number of new allies, including the much-respected farm-to-school advocate Ann Cooper, (also known as "the renegade lunch lady") who became the newest endorser of the Alliance for Fair Food!

Coincidentally, on the last day of the conference, one member of the CIW delegation had an op-ed published in the Ft. Myers News-Press highlighting the urgency of farm labor reform and the elimination of modern-day slavery. Here’s an excerpt from "Farmworker wages are still the issue" (4/24) :

"… As Gov. Crist concurred last month, the solution to the scourge of slavery in Florida’s fields lies with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Campaign for Fair Food. In the short term, it creates the first-ever market consequences for growers that use forced labor. In the long run, it raises the wage floor and creates a voice for farmworkers in the industry, addressing the poverty and powerlessness that give rise to slavery in the first place.

Members of the CIW have gone undercover in slavery operations, have investigated and helped win federal slavery prosecutions, and, in all too many cases, have been held against their will, beaten by their employers – or worse – and forced to work for little or no pay. That is why the CIW has come up with a clear-eyed, comprehensive program designed to eradicate slavery, roots and all.

If Florida growers are serious about cleaning up their image, they must, in the words of Crist, "participate in the campaign," so that we may at long last end Florida’s harvest of shame." read more here

[The picture above is from a Flickr page posted by a Food & Society Conference participant. It is of a mural dedicated to Cesar Chavez and reads, "The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating." Indeed.]

Stay tuned in the coming days for more exciting news from the world of sustainable food as the Campaign for Fair Food continues to break new ground!

Reaction to Gov. Crist statement continues, and the consensus is in: Strong words, time now for even stronger actions…