Before we leave Labor Day behind ...
"Since 1997, the Justice Department has prosecuted seven cases of slavery in the Florida agricultural industry — four involving tomato harvesters — freeing more than 1,000 men and women. The stories are a catalogue of horrors: abductions, pistol whippings, confinement at gunpoint, debt bondage and starvation wages.
Thankfully, those enslaved workers may be among the last found in Florida’s tomato fields. Today, virtually all Florida tomato growers have joined the Fair Food Program, which includes a code of conduct outlawing debt bondage and requiring humane conditions of labor and a more livable wage. Shade stations, toilets and drinking water are appearing in the fields, and educators are spreading word about the code to the harvesters. "
But all the news isn't good:
The CIW model is one of the great human rights success stories of our day. But the Fair Food Program won’t be sustainable unless the largest buyers of tomatoes — grocery stores — reward the growers in the program with their purchases and pay the price premium. Despite years of pressure from the CIW and from consumers, major supermarket chains including Ahold, Kroger’s and Publix have snubbed the Fair Food Program. They prefer their private production codes, which don’t benefit from the Fair Food Standards Council’s independent monitoring and evaluation.
If you want to help and become a long-term advocate for Fair Food (as I am), you can learn more here: http://www.interfaithact.org
and here: http://www.ijm.org/recipe-for-change