IMMOKALEE, FL (January 7, 2015) – The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market are proud to announce their national partnership to support fair farm labor conditions and verifiable, worker-driven social responsibility in US agriculture.
The collaboration breaks new ground in the CIW’s award-winning Fair Food Program in two significant ways. First, starting with the 2015-2016 season, The Fresh Market will increase its purchases by 15% year-over-year from Florida tomato growers participating in the Fair Food Program. This is an important new precedent that recognizes and supports growers who are making significant investments to improve labor conditions on their farms with increased market share.
Second, The Fresh Market will make an annual contribution to support the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), the third-party monitoring organization that oversees compliance with the Fair Food Program’s unique human rights standards. The essential work of the FFSC includes investigating and resolving workers’ complaints, auditing farms for compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct, and enforcing the FFP’s standards. Through the FFSC’s diligent efforts, the Fair Food Program has become the gold standard for social responsibility in US agriculture, recognized by longtime labor and human rights observers as “the best workplace monitoring program in the US” and “one of the great human rights success stories of our day.”
“We are pleased to enter into this partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and to be a part of the Fair Food Program,” said Lee Arthur, The Fresh Market’s merchandising vice president – produce, floral and gift center. “We continuously look for ways to source the best products, and being a part of the FFP helps us to know we are sourcing from growers whose practices are fair and socially responsible. This allows us to provide our customers with food they can feel good about purchasing and enjoy sharing with friends and family.”
“This agreement truly takes the Fair Food Program to a new level,” said the CIW’s Guadalupe Gonzalo. “The FFP is pioneering a new form of social responsibility, one in which we as workers ourselves take a leading role in protecting our own rights in the fields.”
“But we can’t do this alone,” continued Gonzalo. “The FFP is a day-to-day, careful partnership with growers and buyers alike aimed at ensuring that the workplace environment in Florida’s fields is second to none. We have achieved that goal. And now, with this agreement and its new provisions in support of participating growers and the Fair Food Standards Council – two elements essential to the Program’s success — we have laid the groundwork to sustain and scale up those gains well into the future.”
To learn more about the Fair Food Program, please visit www.fairfoodprogram.org