Florida and Vermont Farmworkers and Local Co-Producer of Documentary Film Join Forces to Screen Award-Winning Food Chains
Vermonters To Call Upon Wendy’s to Join Fair Food Program
Burlington, VT — On Wednesday April 1st, farmworkers from Florida and Vermont will join with Food Chains co-producer and Tomoatoland author Barry Estabrook for a film screening and panel discussion. Recently nominated for an award by the prestigious James Beard Foundation, the film documents the inspiring, success story of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program – a unique collaboration between Florida’s farmworkers, tomato growers, and major retailers. This groundbreaking initiative sets a new standard for social justice in the domestic produce industry by ensuring respect for farmworkers’ rights and dignity. Gerardo Reyes and Wilson Perez, farmworker organizers with the Coalition, will speak after the screening along with Estabrook and Migrant Justice farmworker leader Thelma Lupita Gomez. Vermont farmworkers are building a partnership with farmworkers from the Coalition in order to build the Milk with Dignity Campaign—a campaign that adapts the core concepts of the Fair Food Program to the Vermont dairy industry.
Vermonters are also invited to join a farmworker delegation the following day (April 2nd at 5:30pm) to call upon national fastfood chain Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program.
What: Screening of award winning documentary film Food Chains followed by panel of Florida and Vermont farmworkers and VT Author
When/Where: April 1, 6:30pm, UVM Davis Center, Silver Maple Ballroom
Who: Panel discussion with Gerardo Reyes and Wilson Perez, Florida Farmworker Organizers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Thelma Gomez, VT Farmworker and Migrant Justice leader. Moderated by Barry Estabrook, coproducer of Food Chains and author of Tomatoland.
Sponsored by: Shelburne Farms, Migrant Justice, UVM Food Systems Initiative, City Market, Intervale Center, NOFA-VT, Slow Food VT, Vermont International Film Festival.
What: Florida and Vermont farmworkers join together with Vermont community organizations and leaders to call upon Wendy’s in Essex Junction to join the Fair Food Program. Colorful signs, marching, singing, and inspiring words delivered from one of most successful farmworker organizations in the country.
When/where: April 2, 5:30pm, Wendy’s, 110 Pearl St, Essex Junction, VT.
Who: Farmworkers from Vermont and Florida, Migrant Justice, Vermont Workers’ Center and Vermont’s growing fair food movement.
Why: Florida farmworkers have long faced brutal conditions in the fields, including sub-poverty wages, widespread labor rights violations, and even modern-day slavery. Today, however, change is underway through an historic partnership among farmworkers, over 90% of Florida tomato growers, and twelve other leading food corporations. Together, these partners are building a new tomato industry that advances the human rights and dignity of farmworkers while enhancing the sustainability of the industry. By committing to the Fair Food Program, the 13 already-participating corporations agree to purchase their Florida tomatoes exclusively from growers who meet more humane labor standards, as well as to pay a penny per-pound premium to help lift workers out of abject poverty. Both Publix and Wendy’s however, are refusing to join, and if they have their way, the potential for unprecedented farm labor transformation promised by the CIW’s landmark agreements would be significantly diminished.