If only Publix executives could appreciate the simple justice behind Fair Trade coffee

If only Publix executives could appreciate the simple justice behind Fair Trade coffee captured so eloquently on this label (pictured on right)…

Oh… Wait a second. That’s the label from the new Publix-brand Fair Trade coffee.

Never mind…

It just makes sense. “Fair Trade prices help small farmers provide employees with livable wages and work conditions.”

That’s the fundamental principle behind the growing Fair Trade market. And it’s the fundamental principle behind the Campaign for Fair Food, too.

A penny more per pound for Florida tomatoes and a rigorous code of conduct help Florida growers provide the wages and working conditions necessary to build a more modern, more humane Florida tomato industry.

Yet while Publix embraces those wholesome values — “community, well-being, and a nicer world” — when it comes to marketing its new Fair Trade coffee (the front label of which is pictured here on the left), the supermarket giant has stubbornly resisted joining the growing movement for Fair Food when it comes to buying Florida tomatoes.

And that’s despite the fact that the workers who pick Florida tomatoes don’t live thousands of miles away from Publix’s Lakeland, Florida, headquarters, but in the very same communities (broadly speaking) as Publix executives.

Publix can’t have it both ways. Either its claims to ethical trading principles are a hollow marketing sham, or it is time for Publix to change course on the Campaign for Fair Food and join with the CIW in improving wages and working conditions for Florida’s hardest-working, worst-paid, least-protected workers.

A “nicer world” begins at home. Let’s hope Publix’s support of Fair Trade makes its way to our shores before too much longer. Florida farmworkers could use their support.