Imagine a U.S. food system in which farmworkers can feed their own families.


In the last 10 years, the Fair Food Program has put over $36,000,000 into farmworkers’ pockets in Penny-per-Pound bonuses, and eradicated multiple long-standing practices of wage theft. 

Imagine what we can do in 10 more years.

Farm labor has long been one of the most dangerous, most physically challenging jobs in the United States. It has also been one of the worst paid.  For generations, bottom-of-the-barrel produce prices from major corporate buyers kept farmworkers poor, while widespread systemic wage theft denied them much of the meager income they managed to earn at long-stagnant piece rates. 

But if the Fair Food Program has proven anything, it’s that farmworker poverty is not inevitable.  Indeed, after a decade of the FFP’s Penny-per-Pound bonus and multiple wage protection measures, economic security for the men and women working the fields is within our grasp.  In addition to the stunning $36,000,000 in Fair Food Premium distributed to workers over the past 10 seasons — paid for by Participating Buyers — investigators with the Fair Food Standards Council have recovered nearly $500,000 in wages through the FFP’s 24/7 complaint line, and have secured more than $137,000 in federal stimulus checks owed to eligible workers in the last year alone.  And every single day since the Program began in 2011, workers harvesting tomatoes under the protection of the FFP’s critical “bucket-filling standard” no longer have to overfill their buckets, ensuring that workers are paid for every pound of tomatoes they pick, and resulting in an across-the-board 10% average wage increase compared to pre-FFP harvesting wages.  Meanwhile, time clocks (like the one pictured at the top of this post) are now required in the fields, guaranteeing that workers’ hours are recorded accurately and every hour worked is paid.

Over these 10 days of the Summer Sustainer Drive, we are asking for your help to add 10 new monthly donors each day – both to celebrate how far we’ve come, and to build a strong foundation for the next decade of Fair Food.  Can you think of one friend or family member who can help us build that future?  Send them our way!

When the Fair Food Program becomes the norm for U.S. agriculture, and not the exception, these hard-won gains will spread from state to state, crop to crop, ensuring that the farmworkers who put food on our families’ tables every day can put food on their own kitchen tables, too.

To bring the message home today, we wanted to share, once again, this beautifully illustrated story of Immokalee farmworker Udelia and her family, a story we first shared in one of our earliest summer sustainer drives:

In the next ten years, we can advance economic justice for all of the nation’s farmworkers – and you can be a part of it.  Sign up to become a Sustainer today!