Spotlight: Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Spotlight: Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Hi Hamama Friends!

When you’re eating out or ordering take-out, do you ever wonder where your food is actually coming from? It’s easy to inadvertently forget that a lot of hard-working people are part of the process of picking the food for restaurants and grocery stores that we then consume. This week we are spotlighting the Coalition of Immokalee Workers so that we can raise our awareness to ensure that the people behind the food are being treated ethically.


The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a human rights organization that is determined to fight for human rights such as human trafficking, gender-based violence and ethical agriculture practices.

In 2011, the CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers) created the Fair Food Program. This program provides socially responsible practices for farm workers. It started with Florida tomato farm workers and participating buyers. The program created a code of conduct to ensure the ethical practices were being followed. Below are the six guidelines:

  1. A pay increase supported by the “penny per pound” paid by participating buyers, such as Taco Bell, Whole Foods, and Walmart.
  2. Compliance with the Code of Conduct, including zero tolerance for forced labor and sexual assault.
  3. Worker-to-worker education sessions carried out by the CIW on the farms and on company time to ensure workers understand their new rights and responsibilities.
  4. A worker-triggered complaint resolution mechanism (including a 24-hour hotline staffed by the FFSC) leading to complaint investigation, corrective action plans, and, if necessary, suspension of a farm’s Participating Grower status, and thereby its ability to sell to Participating Buyers.
  5. Health and safety committees on every farm to give workers a structured voice in the shape of their work environment.
  6. Ongoing auditing of the farms to ensure compliance with each element of the FFP.

* You can read more about the code of conduct here.


This program has shown to be effective and has been praised by the New York Times and Washington Post. The tomato farmers in Florida can feel confident that when they go to work, their well-being is protected and they will receive a fair wage. Also, buyers can be rest assured that they are providing their customers with totally ethical food! It is truly a win-win for all involved.


Below are the companies who have signed the food agreement:

Check out the video below to see how important the CIW is to ensuring the safety of all farmer workers:

CIW is known for being a leader in ending modern day slavery among farm workers. People should feel safe with their basic rights protected when going to work. It is crucial that we as consumers stay alert and know what is going on behind the scenes of where we purchase our food. There are so many things that we can do to make sure that the food industry joins the CIW Fair Food Program. Right now, the CIW is asking all of us to boycott Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program. They have a list of ways to get Wendy’s attention. You find more information here. You can also donate to the cause to help the CIW in protecting the human rights among farm workers. The work they do is incredibly important and meaningful and together we can be a part of ending modern day slavery.


Check out the video below for a TedTalk on “How Farmers are leading a 21st century human rights revolution.”


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial 'outside agitator' idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

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