Donate your post on Tuesday, July 24th, to the fight for justice in U.S. tomato fields!
Slavery is not just a historical problem. Modern-day slavery is thriving in our own backyard and is affecting our food supply in the process. Last week, International Justice Mission partnered with The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) to launch Recipe for Change, a summer campaign with the goal of raising awareness and asking supermarket CEOs to support the Fair Food program and only stock slave-free tomatoes. (Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and several fast food companies have already joined.)
What is the Fair Food Program?
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a community-based organization of migrant workers that advocates for the rights of farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida. It developed the Fair Food Program to protect Florida's tomato pickers from exploitation.
It has helped introduce a new standard in the tomato industry, so farmworkers like this one are paid for every tomato they pick, and includes provisions to protect female farmworkers, who have faced sexual assault and abuse in the fields.
Under the Fair Food Program, Corporations that join agree to pay a small price increase for fairly harvested tomatoes (1.5 cents more per pound), and promise to shift purchases to the Florida tomato growers who abide by these higher standards – and away from those who won’t.
Another expert in the field is The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), which oversees implementation of the Fair Food Program. The FFSC protects farmworkers by promoting a farmworker wage increase, supported by a premium paid by corporate purchasers of Florida tomatoes (1.5 cents more per pound), and a human rights-based code of conduct, applicable throughout the Florida tomato industry.
Why does this affect us?
Very few of us are immune from the tomato supply chain in this country. From November to May, 90% of tomatoes sourced domestically and consumed in the United States are picked by farmworkers in and around Immokalee, Florida, and although many of us shop at Farmer's Markets and participate in CSAs, it's likely that a Florida tomato has been chopped in our kitchen.
As bloggers and philanthropists, this is an opportunity to do some good with food this summer. The more who particpate, the greater our reach, and the more likely supermarkets will be to change their policies.
To participate, visit the Food Bloggers for Slave-Free Tomatoes page for more information, and email firstname.lastname@example.org to add your blog to the participation list.