FFSC Director Judge Laura Safer Espinoza: “We have taken the first steps on the road to international expansion”

The joint CIW/FFSC delegation met with FFP grower Bloomia’s operations in Chile (right), officials with government ministries and worker groups (top left) and visited rural and indigenous communities (bottom left)

As part of our “Build The Future” fundraising drive to raise $100,000, we are sharing stories from the broader Fair Food Nation. 

Today, Fair Food Standards Council Executive Director Judge Laura Safer Espinoza speaks about the next stage of the Fair Food Program. The FFP is going international, starting with farmworkers in Chile. Judge Espinoza shares exciting details of the joint FFSC/CIW delegation to Chile, where they met with everyone from government representatives, to worker and indigenous groups, food industry leaders and gender equity organizations:

The FFSC audited Araucania Flowers – Bloomia Chile’s greenhouses in Chile

In October of 2022, a joint team of CIW and FFSC staff traveled to the south of Chile to carry out the Fair Food Program’s first international worker education sessions and perform an entry audit toward certification at Araucania Flowers, a tulip grower in beautiful southern Chile.  Araucania is part of Bloomia, the largest East Coast flower grower in the U.S. and a leading Fair Food Program Participating Grower since the spring of 2021.  

Earlier this year — following a visit by CIW and FFSC leaders to Bloomia’s headquarters in Virginia, where the company had assembled the directors of it international branches from Chile, South Africa and The Netherlands to meet and discuss the Fair Food Program’s unique requirements and benefits — Bloomia decided to expand its commitment to the FFP’s gold standard protections across all its operations on other continents.  Araucania Flowers’ successful certification is the first stage of that pioneering expansion.  As a result, Fair Food Program protections now extend to its workers, and lovely tulips with the Fair Food Program label are reaching Chilean consumers, as well as consumers in a number of South American countries, through the company’s e-commerce.

Help the Fair Food Program expand to more countries across the globe, click here to donate!

The FFP delegation’s visit also attracted attention from multiple sectors of Chilean society, including all of those necessary to pave the road for additional program expansion. Members of the delegation met with the Minister of Agriculture and his key staff, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equity and the Ministry of Labor. In a whirlwind week, meetings also took place with many worker and human rights organizations, including those representing women and indigenous workers, where members of the delegation were able to learn about the situations impacting agricultural workers ranging from wage theft and other violations of labor law, to sexual harassment and at the far end of the spectrum of abusive work environments, forced labor.

Fair Food Standards Council Executive Director Judge Laura Safer Espinoza speaks to the FFP’s success in Chile

Convened by regional representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, many Chilean growers and grower associations also expressed serious interest in the risk prevention benefits of the Fair Food Program, as well as the preferential market access provided to the program’s participating buyers. Representatives of a number of Fair Food Program participating buyers with presence in Chile, as well as other national and international buyers also met with our delegation, and remain in communication concerning potential program expansion to other crops.

Finally, major universities in the southern cities of Valdivia and Temuco, sponsored events and seminars with press and social media coverage to disseminate the Fair Food Program message.  On the last day of the delegation, a seminar organized by Fundación LIBERA, an anti-trafficking organization involved in forced labor investigations, was organized in Santiago, with participation by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization (ILO), major Chilean labor federations and human rights experts. The delegation ended on a high note, at a private working session with numerous worker and grower organizations convened by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Labor.

We have taken the first steps on the road to international expansion and with your support, the Fair Food Program will take advantage of all the doors that were opened during this groundbreaking trip and beyond, ensuring that many more workers who harvest the food we eat, wherever it comes from, can exercise their rights to be treated with dignity and respect.

We rely on generous supporters of the Fair Food Program to guarantee the rights of farmworkers, donate today by clicking here.