“Shaping Generations”… United Methodist Women and the Fair Food Movement!

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Worker-driven, consumer-powered social responsibility: Moving video by United Methodist Women puts spotlight on crucial role of consumers in Fair Food Movement…

Earlier this week we brought you a reflection on the “secret” behind the success of the CIW’s Fair Food Program, the fact that the Fair Food Program is a workers’ rights program that is designed, monitored, and enforced by the workers whose rights it is intended to protect

But, truth be told, that is only part of the story.  

The CIW’s vision for a more humane tomato industry would have remained forever a distant dream if tens of thousands of consumers, from Florida to California, hadn’t answered the workers’ call for a more just food system.  In fact, the unprecedented advances for human rights taking place in Florida’s fields today are firmly rooted in the unique alliance forged between farmworkers and consumers, an alliance that was born with the Taco Bell boycott in 2001 and has continued to gain strength and momentum every day since.  Without consumers forcefully demanding real, verifiable respect for human rights from the restaurants and supermarkets where they buy their food, corporations would never have made those demands part of the standards they require from their suppliers, and the Fair Food Program would never have been born.  

Each and every ally who has ever spoken to the manager of his or her local grocery store about Fair Food, painted a protest sign, or marched a mile alongside workers has made an indispensable contribution to ending wage theft, sexual harassment and violence, and modern-day slavery in Florida’s fields, and to the development of a model that is poised to expand those gains to fields and crops well beyond Florida’s tomato industry.  


And so today it is only fitting that we share with you the video at the top of today’s post to celebrate that contribution by focusing in on the story of one family of Fair Food activists — three generations of remarkable, inspiring United Methodist Women from Lakeland, Florida: Emily Hutchings, member of First United Methodist Church of Lakeland; Emily’s mother Jackie Bridges, Dean of Mission U of the Florida Annual Conference, through which over 60 women led an unforgettable candlelight protest at the Southgate Publix in Lakeland less than one year ago; and Emily’s daughter, pictured here above.  Together, this intergenerational trio brought their voices as consumers and their deeply-held faith in social justice to last spring’s March on Publix at the culmination of the 10-day Now Is the Time Tour.

Please take three minutes today to enjoy the video (in fact, once you see it, we bet you’ll watch it again with your own families, it’s that inspirational!).  And in our next update we will bring you more — much more — on the vital, growing bond between farmworkers in Immokalee and United Methodists, a bond that powers one of the most promising movements for justice and human rights in this country today.