“The Next Supper:” New book on the future of food features CIW, Fair Food Program!

New book “a searing expose of the restaurant industry, and a path to a better, safer, happier meal”;

Author Mintz: “The victories of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers are based on getting people to give a damn.  That’s what grassroots movements need from us”;

Reviewer: “A former line cook turned crusading food writer, Mintz looks deep into the dark heart of contemporary restaurant culture to show us all a better way.  Filled with insightful, up-to-the-minute reporting, inspiring characters, and original, even exhilarating ideas.  The Next Supper is the ultimate guide to building (and finding!) the restaurants the world deserves.”

An excellent new book was just added to the growing library of popular books looking at the Fair Food Program and the CIW’s outsized impact in the food industry, and it’s already receiving rave reviews! 

Joining such widely-read authors and titles as Barry Estabrook’s seminal “Tomatoland” (now in its third edition), Jose Andres’ beautiful cookbook “Vegetables Unleashed,” and Susan Marquis’ sweeping study of CIW history and structural analysis of the Fair Food Program “I Am not a Tractor,” Candian food writer Corey Mintz released his critical look at the country’s restaurant industry, “The Next Supper,” with a chapter dedicated to Immokalee, the CIW, and the FFP.  

Mintz’s central thesis is unequivocal: the U.S. restaurant industry, beneath a surface of economic growth and celebrity chefs, is in a crisis marked by widespread labor abuse, increasingly unhealthy diets, a growing gig economy threatening traditional restaurants, and, since 2020, a pandemic that laid bare the deep poverty and social inequities built into the industry’s very business model.  And the author presents the Fair Food Program as one of the bright lights of hope showing the way forward toward a truly modern, more humane food industry.  Here’s an excerpt:


These days Perez and Otzoy work in the CIW office, fielding complaint calls from workers.  They don’t hear about the types of abuses they endured anymore. The most common call is now from workers who haven’t been paid in a month.  If a grower works under the FFP (almost all of Florida tomato farms do), the CIW will send the complaint to the [Fair Food Standards] Council that oversees the FFP and investigates complaints.  Half of cases are now resolved in less than two weeks, and close to 80 percent in under a month.

Does the success of the FFP mean that McDonald’s is a 100 percent ethical corporation and I should eat all my meals there with a clean conscience?  I don’t that it’s reasonable to believe there is any such thing.  But when I get the craving for a fast-food burger, it makes an easy choice between one of the FFP’s partner restaurants and a place like Wendy’s, a holdout that is still refusing to pay that penny a pound.  

The FFP is also evidence that boycotts and grassroots organizing can be effective.  So can individual consumers, when we hear about and support those kinds of efforts…

… Within and around the sphere of fast food, there are established campaigns afoot, organizations (many more than discussed here, and all findable on social media) fighting to change the lives of restaurant and agricultural workers.  Strikes and boycotts are part of their arsenal.  These already in the fight have boots on the ground, and they are dug in.  The biggest difference we can make is to stand with them.  When we hear about organized action abasing a fast-food restaurant, we can talk to workers, learn what people are fighting for, and support them by boycotting the business and amplifying their voices.  

The victories of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers were based on getting people to give a damn.  That’s what grassroots movements need from us. 

The Next Supper is an excellent read, and you can order it here.  It should be on every conscious consumer’s bookshelf.