2019 in review, Part 1: Building power in the farmworker community at the heart of the Fair Food Nation!

The CIW Women’s Group takes to the mic at this month’s celebration of 16 years of CIW’s “Consciousness Radio” 107.7.

Donate today to help farmworkers in Immokalee continue to build power in 2020!

In these final days of a jam-packed 2019 for the Fair Food Nation, we are taking a four-part look back on what has truly been a remarkable year at every level of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ work.  Join us today as we begin that retrospective at the very heart of all that we do: the farmworker community of Immokalee.

Over a quarter century ago, a grassroots human rights movement the Harvard Business Review recently called “one of the most important social-impact stories of the past century” was born in the dirt-poor farmworker community of Immokalee.  Emerging from countless Wednesday night meetings held in a borrowed room a local church, and drawing on an approach known as “popular education” that included everything from community radio broadcasts on the low-power FM radio station, Radio Conciencia, to street theater illuminated by car headlights staged in open lots across the farmworker community, the CIW was brought to life through the tireless efforts of farmworker leaders in this small and dusty crossroads town in Southwest Florida.

Today, CIW farmworker leaders continue to employ all of those critical tools — and more — to build consciousness and commitment in the Immokalee community.  In the year ahead, you can help fuel those efforts by becoming a Fair Food donor!

Since the CIW’s launch in 1993 to this very day, the gathering at the core of our work takes place every Wednesday night at the CIW community center, when farmworkers and community members from across Immokalee come together to discuss the very latest happenings in the fields, in the state, in the country, and in the Campaign for Fair Food.  Using theater, drawings, and video, farmworkers analyze the latest developments and common challenges facing our community and, through conversation in which every voice is heard, forge a path forward.

CIW’s Cruz Salucio (standing, left) and Gerardo Reyes Chavez (standing, right) debut the draft of a new popular education drawing in October 2019 in a community meeting, finessing it with the community before bringing it out to the fields for a Fair Food Program education session.

And for over 15 years, now, the CIW has dedicated Sunday afternoons to building the leadership of women and youth in the community through the CIW Women’s Group, where farmworker women (and their children, of all ages!) come together to take their place at the forefront of the Fair Food movement.

Students and youth join the CIW Women’s Group in Miami for a 200+ person march.
The children of Women’s Group members lead chants and songs during a Wendy’s Boycott action in New York City.

For over twenty five years, farmworkers in Immokalee have redefined what it means for a community to build its own power, to form strategic alliances, and to — at long last — forge structures capable of bringing about real, measurable, sustainable change in the lives of some of this country’s least-protected workers.

And despite the unparalleled effort and sacrifices of countless farmworker leaders over the years, without your support, the unprecedented success of the Fair Food Program would simply not be possible. 

In 2020, help us continue to build long-needed change in Immokalee, and beyond. Donate today to the Fair Food movement!