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The Coalition of Immokalee Workers Fair Food Program expands across U.S.

Fair Food Program expands
Posted at 9:34 PM, Feb 23, 2024

IMMOKALEE, Fla — The Coalition of Immokalee Workers started the Fair Food Program in 2011 and ten states joined their program. Since the start of this year, there are more than 30 farms across 11 states joining the program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded the Fair Food Program platinum recognition, the highest level of human rights protection.

As a result, CIW leader Gerardo Reyes Chavez credits the program's growth.

For more information on CIW, find the story here.

Chavez said, "What that means for the Fair Food Program is that farms that decide to participate will be supported by U.S.D.A. subsidies to partner with us."

The program joins farmers, workers and retailers together to ensure fair working conditions, pay and treatment.

More than 30 farms from Oregon, Texas, New York, Kentucky, Maine, Vermont, Mississippi, Delaware, Missouri to Minnesota just committed to the program which all started in Immokalee.

Cruz Salucio works for CIW and was a longtime farmworker. He's been working with the farms who joined the program.

"Esta lucha vino aquí de Immokalee en estas calles, en estas parqueaderos. Nos estamos precisamente fue ahí de hubos gritos de trabajadores," Salucio said. (This fight started in Immokalee in these streets, in these parking lots. It was precisely there were the shouts of the workers.)

The program protects more than 20,000 farmworkers across 21 states.

Salucio added, "Es un oportunidad para ellos de poder hacer las cosas diferentes, hacer las cosas mejores. Yo creo que el progama de comida justa ayuda todos, benficia todos." (This is an opportunity for them. The power to make things different and make things better. The Fair Food Program helps everyone, benefits everyone.)

However, Chavez said the fight's not over.

"The U.S.D.A. approach is going to help us a lot but we still need the rest of the market, the rest of the holdouts like Wendy's like Kroger to also do their part," Chavez added.

This year, CIW expects thousands of more workers to get protected under the Fair Food Program. CIW will host a Farmworker Freedom Festival March 8-10 in Palm Beach.