A Tale of Two Holidays


A Tale of Two Holidays from Coalition of Immokalee Workers on Vimeo.
SIGN THE CHANGE.ORG PETITION: Ask Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw to ensure that his company “be part of a proven model to address the root cause of farmworker poverty across Florida, and demonstrate that it values the hard work of farmworkers who make possible the food we share this holiday.”


As the holiday season approaches, we pause to spend time with friends and family, give thanks, and reflect on the importance of community.

We know that Publix takes pride in giving back to communities across Florida, especially in donating food during the holiday season. It is true that food insecurity—as Publix defines, “a condition that arises from a lack of enough income and other resources for food”—is a persistent, sobering reality in our communities. We recognize, as signs hanging in your stores this year state, that local families are going hungry. Indeed, many of these families will enjoy a hearty holiday meal because of Publix Super Markets Charities and Publix customers’ donations.

Paradoxically, many of these Florida families who cannot afford to purchase their own dinners are the very people who harvest the bounty that we celebrate this holiday season. Some of these families work hard picking tomatoes, laboring 10+ hour days, six days a week to put food on their – and our – tables. Despite this strenuous work, farmworkers’ pay is often so low that they do not have the resources to adequately provide for their own families. Farmworkers deserve fair pay and dignified working conditions for that hard work.

Thankfully, tremendous progress has been made towards these aims through the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program, a historic partnership between farmworkers, 90 per cent of tomato growers in Florida, and 11 major food retailers including McDonald’s, Whole Foods, and most recently Chipotle Mexican Grill. Under the program, major retailers pay a small premium on their tomato purchases, to be passed through to farmworkers by the growers for whom they work, and target their purchases to growers who meet higher human rights standards. Since 2011, the Fair Food Program has distributed over $7 million to workers through the penny-per-pound premium. This money gives farmworkers resources to be able to provide for their families all year round.

As we gather this winter, we will give thanks for the Fair Food Program and the transformation it has brought to Florida’s tomato fields that is dramatically improving farmworkers’ quality of life. We ask you, Publix Super Markets, to deepen your commitment to giving back to the community by joining the Fair Food Program – a real, sustainable solution to food insecurity and poverty in our shared communities. Publix’s participation in the Fair Food Program would dramatically expand its impact.

Today, we ask Publix to take the opportunity to be part of a proven model to address the root cause of farmworker poverty across Florida, and demonstrate that it values the hard work of farmworkers who make possible the food we share this holiday.


ciw march 2012Spring action announced! CIW, allies to march 150 miles to Lakeland in March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food!

This coming spring (March 3-17) we are taking to the streets again in a two-week march, from Ft. Myers to Publix headquarters in Lakeland, the “March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food.”

The march will have two goals. First, we will march to mark the progress we have made since the turn of the new millennium, progress culminating in the historic changes underway today thanks to the Fair Food Program. And second, we will march to underscore the hard work that remains to be done as supermarket industry leaders — chief among them Publix — continue to undermine that progress and deny their responsibility to do their part to end decades of farmworker poverty and degradation.

Join us, and help us win the participation of Florida’s wealthiest corporation in a program that is changing the lives of Florida’s poorest workers, workers who harvest the food for Publix’s shelves and still bear unimaginable poverty for its profit.

It is time for Publix to “do the right thing.” Until they do, it is time for us, all of us, to march. Stay tuned in the months to come for how you can be a part of the March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food!


The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a human-rights award-winning, community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian, and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Campaign for Fair Food calls upon major food buyers to end poverty and modern slavery in the Florida fields by working in partnership with CIW. Learn more.
Shannan Vance-Ocampo
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