A “visionary strategy… with potential to transform workplace environments across the global supply chain…”

Dear friends,

In 2008, a federal prosecutor called the fields of Southwest Florida “ground zero for modern-day slavery.”  

In 2014, one of the country’s premier public policy analysts called those same fields “the best working environment in American agriculture.”  

And in 2017, the MacArthur Foundation described the Fair Food Program – the force that had wrought the transformation of those fields – as a “visionary strategy… with potential to transform workplace environments across the global supply chain.”

And, now, we have the opportunity to expand that visionary strategy and eradicate slavery across U.S. agriculture, starting with the next Fair Food Program state: Texas. But we need can’t do it without your support as a Fair Food Sustainer.

What we have learned in this 25-year-journey is that slavery does not exist in a vacuum:  It is rooted in the fundamental imbalance of power between a farmworker and his or her boss, and in a sick economic system that trades the abuse of human beings for profit.  

But we have also learned that slavery and other human rights abuses are not inevitable.  If the underlying imbalance of power can be redressed, the abuse born of that imbalance can be eliminated, and ultimately prevented altogether. 

The Fair Food Program, which allows workers to harness the market power of massive retail buyers from Walmart to McDonald’s to enforce their own rights, has pulled slavery up by its very roots.  It does so by ensuring that human rights protections are a requirement for growers to do business with over a dozen of the world’s largest buyers, fundamentally changing the dynamics of the market.  It is no longer simply immoral to turn a blind eye to forced labor – it is now also bad for business.

The impact of upending the economics of slavery in U.S. agriculture has been nothing short of astonishing.  President Obama awarded the CIW a Presidential Medal for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Modern Slavery at a White House ceremony in 2015.  The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations declared  that the FFP “must be considered an international benchmark” in the fight against modern-day slavery.

But, sadly, that isn’t the end of the story.  Here in Immokalee, we know the urgency of the ongoing problem directly and personally.  Outside of the Fair Food Program, we continue to receive and investigate reports from workers who have been beaten or pistol-whipped, forced to work for little to no wages, or driven into debt which they are forced to work off at gunpoint.

We’ve proven that we can put an end to those kinds of stories under the Fair Food Program’s unparalleled protections.  But, we can’t expand the Program’s footprint alone.  

Because you believe in a slavery-free food system, we need you to help bring this urgently-needed program to more fields across the U.S. by becoming a Fair Food Sustainer.