Monday, August 27, 2012

Community Meeting: No Chipocrisy in our 'hood!

Planning creative community/farmworker actions for the Denver Chipotle festival

Chipotle still refuses to sign a Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers which would uphold human rights standards,fair wages and a voice for farmworkers who pick Chipotle's tomatoes.  Without signing a Fair Food Agreement, there is no transparency, worker participation, or, most of all, binding commitment to farmworker rights on Chipotle's part.

We want your help to plan creative actions at an upcoming festival being staged by Chipotle in Denver! Join us for a community planning meeting on:

Thursday, September 6, 6:30-8:30
at the American Friends Service Committee office
901 W. 14th Ave, rm #7
(14th and Kalamath; first floor of the Court House SquareApartments)

Members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers will come to Denver in the weeks prior to the Oct. 6 festival to educate the Denver community about their struggle and animate people to get involved.  We need your assistance to set up educational opportunities, plan actions and show the CIW that Denver stands with them.

On SaturdayOctober 6th, Chipotle Mexican Grill will hold its "Cultivate Festival" in City Park. The day-long festival --"bringing together food, farmers, chefs, artisans, thought leaders, and musicians" -- is a celebration of Chipotle's self-proclaimed commitment to"food with integrity." The Cultivate festivals are part of a concerted marketing effort by Chipotle to distance itself from the image of a traditional fast-food company and to woo the country's growing "Good Food" movement.

Despite Chipotle's claim to be the fast-food leader in social accountability, the Denver-based restaurant chain has for many years now refused to sign a Fair Food Agreement,an agreement four other leading fast-food companies signed long ago. By signing a Fair Food Agreement, Chipotle would be joining the CIW's Fair Food Program, the only social accountability program of its kind that combines worker-to-worker education, a complaint mechanism with protection against retaliation, and a third-party monitoring organization that investigates and resolves complaints as well as carries out regular field and farm office audits to measure compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct. The burgeoning Fair Food Program is already transforming conditions and wages in the fields which for so long fostered poverty and human rights abuses for farmworkers.

The entire Fair Food Program is enforced through the exercise of market consequences if a farm fails to comply with the Code. The market consequences are required by the Fair Food Agreements signed by participating retail food corporations, in which the companies have agreed to curtail purchases from growers unwilling to complywith the Code. Chipotle's refusal to sign an Agreement means it is under no obligation, much less verifiable obligation, to stop buying tomatoes from growers where workers' rights are being violated. Chipotle insists that it only purchases tomatoes from growers complying with Fair Food Standards, but such claims, lacking the transparency, monitoring and binding commitment of a Fair Food Agreement, amount to little more than a cynical attempt to white wash its image.

So, on October 6, the CIW and allies will come to the Cultivate Festival in Denver to show Chipotle that promoting itself as sustainable is not enough - it must include workers' rights, and workers themselves, in its vision of a food system that claims to be based on integrity. We will not settle for public relations games and half measures when it comes to human rights.

Contact for more info.

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