New stand-alone site explains Fair Food Program’s approach to real, measurable social responsibility
October 25, 2014 The first-ever Fair Food label went national Friday marking the latest milestone in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ two-decade-long journey to improve the lives of Florida farm workers.
Similar to the “cruelty-free” or “fair trade” labels on other products, the logo brands tomatoes harvested by workers paid a premium and guaranteed human rights in the field.
“We have waited nearly five years before revealing this label to the world today,” said the coalition’s Cruz Salucio in a statement. “Over those years, we have been doing the hard, day-by-day work of building the Fair Food Program in Florida’s fields — educating workers about their rights, investigating complaints, and identifying and eliminating bad actors and bad practices — so that today we can stand behind the fair conditions and effective monitoring process that this label represents.”
The label originated with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Campaign for Fair Food, which began in a church meeting room when a handful of Immokalee tomato pickers, historically among the nation’s lowest-paid workers, began discussing how to improve their lot. They aimed to raise wages by a penny per pound and clean up labor conditions in the fields, which were plagued by wage theft, sexual harassment and modern-day slavery.
To learn more, visit https://www.fairfoodprogram.org/about-the-fair-food-program/
About the Fair Food Program
The Fair Food Program (FFP) is a unique farmworker- and consumer-driven initiative consisting of a wage increase supported by a price premium paid by corporate purchasers of Florida tomatoes, and a human-rights-based Code of Conduct, applicable throughout the Florida tomato industry. The price premium and the Code of Conduct, which were developed by tomato workers, growers, and corporate buyers in a groundbreaking collaboration, form the foundation for a new model of social accountability.
The FFP emerged from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) successful Campaign for Fair Food, a campaign to affirm the human rights of tomato workers and improve the conditions under which they labor.
The high degree of consolidation in the food industry today means that multi-billion dollar brands on the retail end of the industry are able to leverage their volume purchasing power to demand ever-lower prices, which has resulted in downward pressure on farmworker wages. The FFP reverses that process, enlisting the resources of participating retail food giants to improve farmworker wages and harnessing their demand to reward growers who respect their workers’ rights.
The FFP provides an opportunity for those corporations to bring their own considerable resources to the table – their funds and market influence – to help forge a structural, sustainable solution to a human rights crisis that has persisted on U.S. soil for far too long. In the process, the FFP will help build the foundation for a stronger Florida tomato industry that can differentiate its product in produce aisles and restaurants on the basis of a credible claim to social responsibility and so better weather the challenges of an increasingly competitive marketplace.