The Fresh Market Inc. has formed a national partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization, to support fair farm labor conditions and verifiable, worker-driven social responsibility in U.S. agriculture.
The collaboration builds on the CIW's Fair Food Program (FFP) in two major ways:
- Starting with the 2015-16 season, The Fresh Market will increase its purchases by 15 percent year-over-year from Florida tomato growers taking part in the Fair Food Program.
- The Fresh Market will make an annual contribution to support the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), a Sarasota, Fla.-based third-party monitoring organization that oversees compliance with the Fair Food Program's human rights standards. The FFSC's work includes investigating and resolving workers' complaints, auditing farms for compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct and enforcing the FFP's standards.
"We continuously look for ways to source the best products, and being a part of the FFP helps us to know we are sourcing from growers whose practices are fair and socially responsible," said Lee Arthur, The Fresh Market's merchandising VP - produce, floral and gift center. "This allows us to provide our customers with food they can feel good about purchasing and enjoy sharing with friends and family."
"This agreement truly takes the Fair Food Program to a new level," noted Guadalupe Gonzalo, of the Immokalee, Fla.-based CIW. "The FFP is pioneering a new form of social responsibility, one in which we as workers ourselves take a leading role in protecting our own rights in the fields."
Added Gonzalo: "The FFP is a day-to-day, careful partnership with growers and buyers alike aimed at ensuring that the workplace environment in Florida's fields is second to none. We have achieved that goal. And now, with this agreement and its new provisions in support of participating growers and the Fair Food Standards Council –- two elements essential to the program’s success -- we have laid the groundwork to sustain and scale up those gains well into the future."
The Fresh Market, based in Greensboro, N.C., operates 168 stores in 27 states.