Thanksgiving leftovers…

Even the Publix salt-shaker Pilgrim finds the hypocrisy of the company’s advertising copy for its store label Fair Trade coffee too much to stomach, adding her voice to the Campaign for Fair Food to demand fair wages and working conditions for the farmworkers who pick Florida tomatoes, too.

Our annual harvest celebration has come and gone, and the nation’s supermarket giants — with the notable exception of Whole Foods — remain stubbornly opposed to the CIW’s Fair Food Program and the higher labor standards it would establish for the farmworkers who pick their tomatoes.

But outside the executive offices and corporate board rooms of the supermarket industry, support for the Campaign for Fair Food is growing exponentially.

Just days before Thanksgiving, the brave people of Chicago Fair Food took their call for farm labor justice into the windy streets, filled with holiday shoppers, outside a city Trader Joe’s store (below).

Nearly 30 people joined the lively picket, a crowd that brought together faith, community, and labor allies. Their report from the action concluded with this simple but irrefutable bit of logic:

“Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Aramark, Sodexo, Bon Apetit Management Company, Compass Group and Whole Foods have signed the agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. There has been no damage done to these companies. Trader Joe’s has no excuse for not coming to terms with the CIW.”

Meanwhile, Yes! Magazine’s Winter Issue hit the newsstands, and with it the annual Yes! list of leaders in all fields of social change, the “Breakthrough 15”. The CIW’s own Lucas Benitez, nominated by longtime Campaign for Fair Food ally and food movement pioneer Frances Moore Lappe, made the august list this year!

Ms. Lappe’s article nominating Lucas begins:

“Lucas Benitez, 35, doesn’t call himself an organizer but an “animator.” This distinction says it all to me: My greatest heroes aren’t those who perform acts of bravery that most of us would run from. They’re those whose genius is enabling others to find courage within themselves—to act, not as lone heroes, but in common cause with others. Animators, says Lucas, are “people who animate the community to join and struggle together.” read more

It’s a great read. Don’t miss it.

And so it goes. People who care about food justice — from the youngest consumers, like the young person holding the banner in the Chicago cold above, to the most veteran food movement activists, like Frances Moore Lappe — care about and support the Campaign for Fair Food.

The people who sell food, on the other hand, continue to fight the Campaign tooth and nail, as if justice and business were somehow antithetical.

But the logic of the Chicago Fair Food report is undeniable: Nine multi-billion dollar companies have signed, and are supporting, Fair Food agreements in their supply chains. No harm has come to those companies as a result. Justice and business not only can — but must, when the opportunity presents itself — coexist.

It is a lesson the supermarket companies would do well to learn, sooner rather than later.