On Sunday, March 3, 2013, hundreds of farmworkers and their allies began a two-week, 200-mile "March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food" from Ft. Myers to Publix headquarters in Lakeland, Florida.
|Image: Civic Media Center, Gainesville, FL|
Leading the march is the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a community-based organization formed in 2000 to fight for the rights of farmworkers on Florida’s huge tomato farms (many of which are located in Immokalee, Florida).
The group is marching to persuade Publix to sign the Fair Food agreement, a promise to only buy tomatoes from growers who participate in the Fair Food Program, which ensures a living wage and fair and humane working conditions for the farmworkers. Other large corporations that have signed the Fair Food agreement include McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods Market, Aramark, Sodexo, Trader Joe’s and Chipotle.
Why is it important to get the support of these large corporations? Because it incentivizes fair food.
The purchasing power of these corporations is such that it can turn the tide in agribusiness – if they care about the working conditions of the farms they purchase product from, then so will the growers. Why is this group in Florida important to us here in South Carolina?
Because we hope this movement spreads and farmworkers across the nation are treated with respect and dignity and paid a living wage; because we have a choice where we buy our groceries; and because maybe when you chomp into a tomato at the next Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival it will taste even sweeter knowing that you are supporting a local food system that promotes accountability, traceability and good, clean and fair food.
Post by Annu Ross, Slow Food Columbia