Farm labor today remains one of the most difficult and most underpaid jobs in America. There are currently about 2 million farm workers in America.
Farm workers are generally paid by the piece rather than by the hour. Forced to work at a brutal pace to earn the equivalent of minimum wage, farm workers live well below the poverty line. Meanwhile, large food retailers make billions in annual profits. But there is a solution to this exploitation.
An organization called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers developed a program to end poverty and exploitation in Florida’s tomato fields. The Fair Food Program asks large retailers such as supermarkets and fast-food restaurants to pay just a penny more per pound of tomatoes and to refuse to buy tomatoes from farms with human rights violations.
To date, more than a dozen major retailers have signed on including Walmart, McDonald’s, the YUM Brands, Chipotle, Burger King, Aramark and Subway.
The Fair Food Program has been hailed as a great human rights success story. The United Nations has stated that it could serve as a model elsewhere in the world.
The documentary “Food Chains” reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food chains and supermarkets. The film tells the story of the group of farm workers who achieved a solution with the global supermarket industry through the ingenious Fair Food program. Their story is one of hope — to ensure a more humane, transparent food chain.
The Franciscan Peace Center will host a free screening of “Food Chains” Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at The Canticle — home of the Sisters of St. Francis – 841 13th Ave. N., Clinton. For more information, visit www.ClintonFranciscans.com or call (563) 242-7611.
Laura Anderson, Marketing Director
Franciscan Peace Center, Clinton