Real and lasting change is not a sprint – it’s a marathon.

Thirty years ago, when farmworkers in Immokalee decided to come together and fight to end the human rights abuses that had plagued Florida’s fields for centuries, they had a vision of a more just agricultural industry that they captured in these simple words: Dignity, Dialogue, and a Fair Wage. 

Those words became a call to action in 2000, adorning countless signs and banners along the length of the CIW’s historic month-long, 234-mile march — from Ft. Myers to Orlando — to the offices of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association.  The march brought together farmworkers and their families, priests and rabbis, students and grandmothers, health outreach workers, advocates, and conscious consumers of all stripes – all seeking a world in which farmworkers would be safe from forced labor and sexual assault, be paid fairly for their hard work, and have a seat at the industry table, and a real voice in the decisions that shape their lives.

In those early years, farmworkers in Immokalee had no idea what exactly awaited them on that road to a more modern, more humane agricultural industry, but they knew this: real, lasting change does not happen overnight.  Changing long-entrenched structures of exploitation and abuse requires an unwavering commitment, not only from the farmworker community leading the way, but also from the unparalleled network of allies who have walked alongside Immokalee’s workers for the past 20 years, passing the baton from one generation to the next. 

The last 10 years of the Fair Food Program – and the last 20 years of the Campaign for Fair Food– have delivered tremendous progress for tens of thousands of farmworkers.  Whether you’ve been with us for decades, or just joined the movement, you’re an important part of the Fair Food Nation. Your support today helps us build for the days, years, and generations to come.  Sign up here to become a Fair Food Sustainer today.

“A daughter and granddaughter of farmworkers from Santa Ana, CA, I first visited Immokalee in 2003 and have been an ally of the CIW ever since. At the University of Notre Dame, I was one of the student leaders that organized to get the University to cut a sponsorship contract with Taco Bell during the Taco Bell boycott; (organizing a hunger strike with 150 students, among other actions). In 2005, I moved to the home of the Fair Food Movement and was a staff member of the Student/Farmworker Alliance and Interfaith Action. One year later, I met Héctor (also a son and grandson of farmworkers) while organizing in Chicago to get McDonald’s to join the Fair Food Program. Hector, a long time activist, poet and musician from the Bronx, NY had just moved to Chicago and immediately became involved with the campaign. With street theater, he created “Rolando” the pro-justice half brother of Ronald McDonald’s. Rolando took the streets at the McDonald’s Thanksgiving parade and went into McDonald’s restaurants to raise consciousness about the exploitation behind the tomatoes in their burgers. A friendship rooted in a common vision of justice, dignity and freedom for all people, flourished into a long-distance relationship and later marriage. Héctor and I are parents to Tonalli and Taína and have joined multiple CIW actions as a family. Together, we have connected dozens of people to the movement through bomba and as part of our work with our organization Peace Inside Out (personal and community transformation through arts, restoration, community and health). We are inspired by the CIW’s idea that Consciousness + Commitment = Change (now visible and felt by the concrete changes in the fields); by the way this movement has always integrated music and art as central to spreading our message and to uplift our spirits; and by the CIW’s horizontal structure that affirms that the people most affected should always be at the forefront leading to assert their rights and dignity.” -Melody Gonzalez and Hector Rivera Ortiz

“I came to Immokalee for the first time as a college student, for an encuentro organized by CIW, and quickly found my home as an ally. Back then, there was no Fair Food Program, there was only a vision, along with grit, consciousness, commitment, faith, and a cry for justice that could not be ignored. As a student, I traveled to several cities across the U.S. for consumer actions and eventually found myself in Irvine, California to support the Campaign’s hunger strike in front of Taco Bell headquarters. I will never forget those days in California. I felt overwhelmed with waves of grief and anger, of hope and delirious joy. Back then, I knew I was in the right place, doing the right thing, no matter what happened next. Today, I am honored to help staff the Fair Food Program, the real-life result of decades of hard work by farmworkers and their allies. I imagine that there are few people in the world who will ever experience the surreal gift of seeing a vision become reality- AND who get to work on strengthening it, expanding it, and helping it take root in new places. As I look at my two-year-old son, I know that he and his generation will pick up the mantle as allies when I’m gone. It is the honor of my life to work alongside my friends at the CIW, who taught me to have faith and never give up. I am grateful to all the members of our community, including our generous donors and sustainers, who believe in this work, too.” – Tiffany Goetzinger, Communications and Expansion, Fair Food Program.