Social Justice Charity Partner Selection 2019-2021
ALLIANCE FOR FAIR FOOD
P.O. Box 509, Immokalee, FL 34142 | (p) 239-657-8311 | (f) 239-457-5055
August 4, 2018
Dear UUCGN Social Justice Committee,
The Alliance for Fair Food Was honored to be asked to submit a grant request to the UUCGN.
UUCGN has been building relationships of dignity and equality with the farmworkers of Immokalee and advancing the Campaign for Fair Food for some time now. You've hosted educational sessions, screened the Food Chains documentary, and supported the CW in public actions in southwest Florida and beyond. Leaders have fasted for fair food and helped to create and lead interfaith worship affirming justice is at the heart of faith and love, our path.
We share UUCGN's intersectional lens that recognizes that systems of oppression overlap and that our work for liberation must be similarly intertwined. And so, we often meet one another in common cause, whether outside a Wendy's or at the courthouse decrying the separation of immigrant families, at vigils against hate and violence, or as part of the Justice4All Coalition as we seek to advance justice as neighbors in southwest Florida.
The Alliance for Fair Food was born from an encuentro; a deep face-to-face encounter; human being to human being. In 2001, farmworkers from Immokalee harvesting at the very foundation of the food industry did a simple, yet profound, thing. They began talking with consumers who purchase produce at the top of that same industry. They talked with ordinary people — families in congregations, students in universities — who had no idea about the severe exploitation that tainted the food they purchased. And from this conversation grew an unswerving commitment that together, we would create a new food system — one in which the dignity and humanity of every person was respected.
The AFF works in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, educating and involving people across Florida and around the nation in campaigns to convince multi-billion-dollar food retailers to join the ClWs Fair Food Program. This unparalleled human rights protection program was designed by farmworkers, the human beings whose human rights are in question, to end human rights violations like forced labor and sexual assault and create a humane workplace. By purchasing only from growers that uphold worker-designed fair food standards and suspending purchasing from those who fall out of compliance, the Fair Food Program uses market force to redress the fundamental imbalance of power between farmworkers and their employers, ending the root cause of these and other longstanding abuses.
The results have been as unprecedented as they are astounding. Tens of thousands of workers harvesting tomatoes, bell peppers, and strawberries in Florida and six additional states along the Eastern seaboard are now laboring with their rights respected and abuses being actively prevented by the Fair Food Program. In fall 2017, Harvard Business Review declared the Fair Food Program as "among the most important social impact success stories of the past century," placing it in the company of fourteen other extraordinary efforts from ending Apartheid in South Africa to polio eradication. Right now, the Fair Food Program is poised to expand to an eighth state and a new crop even as its Worker-driven Social Responsibility has been translated to realize rights for millions of garment workers in Bangladesh and Vermont dairy farmworkers.
The UUCGN's commitment to building a larger community of peace, justice and love and to respecting the dignity and worth of every human being is at the heart of AEF's work to unite consumers and workers to realize human rights. Far too often, and for far too long, those who belong to communities marginalized by society face an uphill battle at work. When they report any abuse, those workers (across many industries) find they have nowhere to turn. But farmworkers in the FFP thankfully face a different reality.
In 2016, one Haitian farmworker reported a field supervisor who he believed was discriminating against Haitians. After the Fair Food Standards Council worked with the grower's staff to resolve the complaint, the worker expressed his relief, "Thank you for helping get this enormous weight off my chest. I feel like a tractor-trailer has been lifted off me. The work is difficult, but it is fine when we all get along. I was tired of going to work thinking 'what is going to happen today?'" Similarly, one transgender worker spoke at length about the respect that she and others on her crew receive, "Although we are very diverse, we all treat each other with respect . . . and because of this, our crew is a great place to work."
Through the Campaign for Fair Food, we are actively building the world we want to see — one rooted in mutual respect and equal rights for everyone, regardless of who you are, where you came from, or whom you love. The Fair Food movement is one of the few movements that is not only defending its progress over the past decade but is continuing to gain ground even at this perilous political moment. As rights are under attack and being rolled back, the Fair Food Program's protections stand strong as they are not dependent on political administration or policy, but legal agreements that cement a worker-designed human rights solution.
It is no longer a question of whether we can achieve farmworkers' human rights and prevent abuses; it is only a question of how quickly we can expand these urgent rights protections to more workers by bringing new retailers into the Fair Food Program and its WSR model to the world. We are grateful for your consideration of this request and eager to step forward in faith with you.
The Rev. Noelle Damico, AFF Funds Development Coordinator
View the complete application from Alliance for Fair Food
(The application is in the "Restricted Documents" box in the Members Only section of this website.)