Fair Food Committee
The Fair Food Committee draws its origins from IFCLA's support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) campaign for farm workers' rights in Florida (and is a natural continuation to IFCLA's long involvement with the National Farm Worker Ministry - especially when their national office was in Saint Louis - and since the Ministry and CIW are faith partners).
The CIW has advocated for "a penny more a pound" for tomato pickers and has pursued innovative contracts with retail merchants such as grocery stores and restaurant chains to set up bonus payments directly to workers. These contracts have empowered mostly migrant farm workers to earn living wages. The Florida fields had previously been notorious for worker exploitation to the degree of confining some workers in virtual slavery.
In January, 2014, the retail giant Walmart signed onto the "fair food agreement" with the CIW. This agreement means that participating buyers commit to buy Florida tomatoes only from growers in good standing with the Fair Food Program (FFP), and to cease purchases from growers who have failed to comply with the code of conduct. IN signing this agreement, Walmart joined a growing list of multi-billion dollar businesses (including McDonald’s, Subway, Sodexo and Whole Foods) establishing more humane farm labor standards and fairer wages for farmworkers.
IFCLA has organized actions to support the successful CIW campaign on Trader Joe's stores and is currently participating in demonstrations at Wendy's restaurants.
The Fair Food Committee plans to continue its support of the CIW. We also envision that we may address other food issues in the future as part of a larger food justice initiative. For example, we have hosted a Mexican Solidarity Network (MSN) tour in St. Louis. The MSN is organizing to counter Monsanto Corporation's aggressive sales of GMO seeds in central Mexico because they have seen how industrial farming has destroyed (a) the environment, (b) the indigenous culture, and (c) the indigenous crops where it has been implemented.
We are a natural partner with MSN because Monsanto is head-quartered in St. Louis. We also know that other regions of Latin America are experiencing similar consequences from the introduction of GMO seeds.
If you are interested, contact the Fair Food Committee.