Fair Food Sisters

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STAND WITH FARMWORKER WOMEN.

 

WHAT IS A FAIR FOOD SISTER?

We decided to demand the right as women to work free of sexual harassment and violence, and the right to protect our dignity.
— Lupe Gonzalo, CIW member
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JOIN THE NATIONWIDE MOVEMENT TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST THE WOMEN WHO HARVEST OUR FOOD.

The Fair Food Sisters are a brand-new, powerful network of women's rights advocates whether they are longtime Fair Food allies, new friends of Immokalee farmworkers looking to bring the Fair Food movement to their neighborhood, or members of national women's rights organizations  answering the call for solidarity and support from the Women's Group of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an internationally-recognized human rights organization leading the charge on ending sexual assault and violence in U.S. fields.

For decades, the women who harvest the fruits and vegetables that we put on the table each day have faced sexual violence in the fields.  Torn between protecting their dignity and putting food on the table for their own families, women farmworkers endured vulgar and harassing comments, sexual assault, demands of sexual favors from supervisors, and in extreme cases, rape.  If a woman spoke up, she found that the next day, she was fired, and her abuser was right back at work.

That's the bad news.  The good news is that the women of the small, dusty town of Immokalee, Florida, stood up and said:  Enough!

Farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) reached beyond the borders of their community to make the national call for support from allies who buy the food harvested in Immokalee -- everyday consumers – and together, they built a movement: the movement for Fair Food.

Through this campaign, the CIW created an unparalleled program to combat human rights abuses, the Fair Food Program.  The Program is a unique partnership among farmworkers, 14 of the world's largest retail buyers, and major tomato, strawberry and pepper farmers on the East Coast.  Today, under the Fair Food Program, women have the right to report abuse without fear of being fired.  Farmworkers have eliminated the most extreme abuses in the fields, from violence against women to modern-day slavery.  

 
 

stand shoulder to shoulder with farmworker women.

But the CIW's work is far from done.  There are tens of thousands of women still laboring far beyond the protections of the Fair Food Program, suffering the same sexual violence and exploitation that women farmworkers faced before in the fields of Florida.

Unfortunately, while more women continue on within this daily struggle, there are major buyers — like Publix, like Kroger, like Wendy’s — that continue to negotiate with the dignity of women and continue making profits from their sweat, even when they have been invited time and time again to join farmworkers in stopping this abuse.

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One company in particular is standing in the way of the path to justice.  The fast food giant, Wendy’s, even while all of their competitors have become farmworkers' partners against sexual violence, continues to ignore calls to come to the table of dialogue with farmworkers.  What’s more, Wendy’s has abandoned the agricultural industry of Florida even as farms have transformed for the better, and has moved its purchases to Mexico, where horrific exploitation continues of both women and men alike.

After Wendy's refused for years to join the country's only proven solution to sexual violence against farmworker women, the CIW and their consumer allies declared a national boycott of Wendy's until the company joined the Fair Food Program.

It is time to build a world in which all women can live and sustain their families with dignity and be respected in the places where they work.

This transformation was brought about not only through the leadership of farmworker women, but also through the actions — both great and small — of millions of consumers.  Together, we have the power to make change!

  

 

BECOME A FAIR FOOD SISTER.

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GET INVOLVED.

Consciousness + Commitment = Change.
— Coalition of Immokalee Workers
 

FIRST: spread the word on social media.

 
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 I joined the movement to end #sexualviolence against farmworkers. When will you @Wendys? #BoycottWendys

 
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.@Wendys: 80% of farmworker women face sexual violence at work. Be a part of the solution! #FairFoodSister

 
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 @CIW: “We demand the right as women to work free of sexual harassment and violence.” I stand with farmworker women! #FairFoodSister

 

THEN: Sustain efforts to end gender-based violence.

 
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The Fair Food Sustainer Program is a monthly giving network bringing fundamental human rights to tens of thousands of farmworkers and their families across the country.  When we come together to support dignity and respect for the workers who harvest our food, there is no limit to what we can do:

  • When 25 Fair Food Sisters give $25 a month each, they can ensure that 1,000 farmworker women across the South receive education on their right to work free of sexual violence.
     
  • When 10 Fair Food Sisters give $100 a month each, they can fully fund Immokalee farmworkers' local, community-led radio station, including daily programming on a woman's right to speak out about violence in the fields and in the home. 
     
  • When 10 Fair Food Sisters give $20 a month each, they can help send 50 farmworker women, their families, and supporters on a bus tour across the country to awaken the consciousness of the public through presentations, mobile exhibits, and action.

Help us create a world where women who harvest the food we eat are not forced to give up their dignity to feed their own families.  Join the Sustainer Program today!

 
 

FINALLY: BRING THE MOVEMENT HOME.

 
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EDUCATE YOUR COMMUNITY.

 

Who are the farmworker women of Immokalee?

 
One of the most successful social-change initiatives of the past century.
— Harvard Business Review

Led by women and men who have survived and now fight against sexual violence and forced labor, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is an internationally-recognized human rights organization with over 20 years of experience combatting some of the worst abuses faced in U.S. agriculture.  The CIW Women's Group is one of the organization's most instrumental leadership bodies, a group of farmworker women who educate and mobilize for change within the farmworker communities of Florida as well as in cities from coast to coast with consumers.

In 2011, the CIW created the Fair Food Program to guarantee dignity and better wages through a new model of social responsibility. The Program, a unique partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies, allows workers to be the frontline monitors of their own rights without fear of retaliation. Through the Fair Food Program, the CIW has brought dignity and respect to the more than 35,000 workers who are protected under the FFP each year.  The Fair Food Program currently covers 90% of the Florida tomato industry as well as tomato farms in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. The Program has also expanded into Florida strawberries and bell peppers.

The Fair Food Program emerged from the CIW’s successful nationwide Campaign for Fair Food, which educates consumers on the issue of farm labor exploitation – its causes and solutions – and forges alliances between farmworkers and consumers that enlist the market power of major corporate buyers to help end that exploitation.  Since 2001, the campaign has combined creative, on-the-ground actions with cutting edge online organizing to win Fair Food Agreements with fourteen multi-billion dollar food retailers, including Walmart, McDonald’s, Subway, Sodexo and Whole Foods, establishing more humane farm labor standards and fairer wages for farmworkers.

Even with the remarkable change that has taken place in the fields, the CIW continues to work tirelessly to expand the Fair Food Program by bringing in additional retail buyers who seek to use their market power to protect the fundamental human rights of the farmworkers who harvest the nation's food.  Wendy's, for example, has not only refused to join the Fair Food Program (FFP), but has stopped buying tomatoes from Florida since the implementation of the FFP there. Rather than support an industry setting new standards for human rights, Wendy's took its tomato purchases to Mexico, where workers continue to confront wage theft, sexual harassment, child labor, and even slavery without access to protections.

Learn more about the movement for Fair Food.