Florida churches organize “Pennies for Publix” campaign

Florida churches organize “Pennies for Publix” campaign to demonstrate consumer support for Publix participation in Campaign for Fair Food!

Plus: If you live In Southwest Florida, don’t miss this weekend’s three-day “Harvesting Hope”

Here’s what the Florida Council of Churches wants to know this Thanksgiving season:

“As you gather around the Thanksgiving table wouldn’t it be glorious to know the meal before you is not a product of unjust or slave-like labor conditions? Let us be thankful that we have not been exploited, and the food before us is not brought to our table through exploited labor!” read more

The question is the launching point of an ingenious campaign, entitled “Farmworkers in the fields are family too,” intended to cast light on Publix’s stubborn refusal to support the CIW’s Fair Food principles, principles which are quickly becoming the industry standard in Florida’s tomato industry.

The centerpiece of the initiative is the “Pennies for Publix” campaign. Here’s how it works:

“In cooperation with Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, houses of worship are invited to participate in a project to show gratitude to farmworkers at Thanksgiving and to encourage Publix to join the penny per pound campaign.

‘Farmworkers in the fields are family, too’ involves filling penny folders with a month of pennies, bible studies and prayer guides. The concept is simple: educate consumers about farmworker conditions and the Campaign for Fair Food and include them in an effort to persuade Publix Markets to pay farmworkers an additional penny per pound of tomatoes.

The heart of the campaign includes: 1) learning more about farmworker conditions and 2) collecting a month of pennies in a daily penny folder to present to the local Publix’s manager as an advance for the day Publix signs an agreement with CIW. Publix is a consumer-sensitive, privately held company. Unlike previous shareholder campaigns with McDonalds, Yum Brands, Sodexo and other end-sellers of tomatoes, Publix does not allow public comment at its annual meeting. However, local Publix markets pride themselves on responding to consumer needs. Thus, Farmworkers in the fields are family, too is a campaign to urge consumers to convince Publix that they are more than willing to pay a fair-wage price for Florida tomatoes.” read more

You can read more about the “Pennies for Publix” campaign here and here.

Also here in Florida, this weekend is the big three-day “Harvesting Hope” festival of art, education, and music hosted by the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church in North Naples. Here’s how the Naples Daily News describes the events:

“In 1960, legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow presented the plight of Immokalee migrant workers in ‘Harvest of Shame.’

This weekend, 21 houses of worship, interfaith groups and community organizations will visualize solutions to it through ”Harvesting Hope,” a free, three-day event at Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church in North Naples.

‘Harvesting Hope’ will use art, discussion and education to examine the origins of poverty in Immokalee and other Florida farming communities, and will explore how faith-based justice efforts are helping to change the lives of farm worker families…” read more

If you live in Southwest Florida and you support the Campaign for Fair Food, you need to be there this weekend for “Harvesting Hope”. Click here to see all the details on the weekend’s events.