Friday, September 28, 2012

Cultivating Justice, Transparency, Partnership! Join CIW and allies October 6!

Things are heating up for Chipotle!
Join CIW and Allies in Demanding Rights and Dignity for Farmworkers at Upcoming Denver "Cultivate" Festival
When: Saturday, October 6th, 10am-4pm and 4:00pm procession and vigil
What: Chipotle's "Cultivate Festival" - a celebration of the company's self-proclaimed promise to serving "food with integrity" - lacks a major ingredient: a commitment to the farmworkers who harvest tomatoes sold in their stores. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has asked Chipotle for six years to join their acclaimed Fair Food Program, but while the corporation advertises its humane treatment of animals, it has thus far neglected to uphold basic standards for farmworkers.
Join us in calling on Chipotle to live up to their ethical image by joining the CIW's Fair Food Program -- because a vision of "food with integrity" that excludes farmworkers has no integrity at all.

10:00am - 4:00pm: Join us for a series of creative actions, street theater, tomato bucket installation, costumed flyering and more! (For a full schedule and to get involved email
Where: City Park (East of Ferril Lake; see red star on map below)

4:00pm: A march around the festival perimeter, stopping at each festival entrance to ask for entry, followed by a vigil
Where: Gather for march in front of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Colorado Blvd & E. Montview Blvd; see orange "M" on map below). If you are unable to march, join us for the vigil east of Ferril Lake (at the red star on map).
Please share: Facebook Event
Background: Following ten major victories, including the recent agreement with Trader Joe's, the CIW has developed the Fair Food Program - an historic partnership between farmworkers, tomato growers, and retail corporations. Through their commitment to the Program, these corporations are paying a penny-per-pound premium to lift farmworker wages and have committed to buying only from growers who meet a strict set of labor standards.
Yet, despite its claim to be the fast-food leader in social accountability, Chipotle has for years refused to sign a Fair Food Agreement and thus and is under no obiligation to stop buying tomatoes from growers where workers' rights are violated.
Further Information:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Momentum building in Denver for Fair Food and Farmworker Justice at "Cultivate Festival"

The weather may cooling, the Campaign for Fair Food is heating up in Denver!  Momentum is growing as Denver allies and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers make plans to bring creative actions to the Oct. 6 Chipotle "Cultivate Festival", calling on the chain to finally sign a Fair Food Agreement with the CIW.

Here's a few of the exciting happenings:

1. Oscar Otzoy of the CIW is in Denver through October 6 connecting with community members and animating them to get involved in the Oct. 6 actions. If you'd like to invite Oscar to make an announcement or do a workshop about the CIW's 20-year struggle for justice in the tomato fields of Florida with your community organization, faith group, union, or classroom contact   

2. On Saturday Sept. 15, Chipotle brought the "Cultivate Festival" to Chicago's Lincoln Park. While Chipotle celebrated inside the gated festival, the CIW and allies set up on a neighboring field to both remind Chipotle and educate festival attendees that the restaurant chain has chosen to ignore farmworkers rather than recognize and respect their vital contribution to the food system by joining the Fair Food Program. For a small hint of the exciting actions being planned for Denver, see the photo report from Chicago here

3. If you're interested in learning more about the Campaign for Fair Food and the actions planned for Oct. 6, one opportunity will be this Thursday at the Occupy Denver Teach-In:
The Fight for Fair Food
Thursday, September 27, 5:30-6:45pm
at Deer Pile Space above City O’ City at 206 E. 13th Ave.

We hope to see you all soon!

Next Meeting: Wednesday, September 26, 6pm at AFSC (901 W. 14th Ave, rm 7; first floor of Court House Square Apartments)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Philly turning up the heat on Chipotle

"Fair Food Fridays" wrap up in Philly, but pressure won't let up in the fall; Rabbis for Human Rights - North America says "Now the focus is on Chipotle"!

With Chipotle's "Cultivate" Festival -- and the CIW's alternative Fair Food Festival -- now just two weeks away, and with the advance team of CIW members and allies already in place laying the groundwork for what should be an exciting event in the Windy City, the pressure is picking up on the self-styled "Food with Integrity" leader throughout the Fair Food nation.

In Philadelphia, where the dogged members of Philly Fair Food have held weekly lunch hour protests at local Chipotle restaurants throughout the summer (a little thing they liked to call "Fair Food Fridays"), the summer series of protests wrapped up with a lively picket (above) and manager delegation yesterday. Here's how they framed their Friday protest campaign:
"Conscientious consumers across the United States are calling on Chipotle to honor the rights of farmworkers who pick the tomatoes that go into Chipotle burritos. Here in Philly, we plan to send a powerful message to the company. During each Friday lunch rush, we will picket one of the busiest Chipotle locations in the city. We will talk with customers about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' “Fair Food Program” and make sure they know about Chipotle’s refusal to participate. We’ll ask customers to sign and deliver a letter to the restaurant manager that asks the company to live up to its ethical image by joining the program." read more

This unrelenting campaign of protests led by students, parents, faith leaders and burrito-lovers resulted in the delivery of over 100 manager letters by disillusioned Chipotle patrons. Week after week, the group returned to convey their message: "Food with Integrity" that dismisses worker participation, lacks transparency and rejects commitment to verifiable enforcement actually has no integrity at all. 

Now that the summer's over and Fair Food Fridays are a wrap, are the Philly Fair Food lovers turning down the heat on Chipotle? Hardly! Here's the message after Friday's protest on their facebook page:
"Center City Chipotle, we'll be back to see you soon. Next up, University City!"

Meanwhile, another great CIW partner, the Rabbis for Human Rights -- North America, is leading the Jewish community across the country in the fight against modern-day slavery, and a key arrow in their quiver is their support for the Campaign for Fair Food. RHR-NA played a leading role in the Trader Joe's campaign, and now, in an interview with RHR-NA Director Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, it is clear that they will be turning their considerable clout on Chipotle:

"This change in the lives of the Florida farm workers reflects the growing success of the CIW campaign, which has support from a broad coalition of human rights, labor, and religious groups such as RHR. 
The core of the campaign is to pressure the large customers of the tomato growers to buy only from suppliers who treat their workers properly. 
“The first victory was Taco Bell. Then a bunch of other fast food chains followed: Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway. Whole Foods signed on, and then Trader Joe’s last winter,” Kahn-Troster said [Rabbi Kahn-Troster is pictured above, rear, with her daughter in the foreground, holding the "Do Your Part" sign, at a recent Stop & Shop protest]... 
... Now, the focus is on the Chipotle restaurant chain. Kahn-Troster said that some tomato purchasers say that they agree with the code of conduct; nonetheless, they haven’t signed the agreement. 
“The problem for us as consumers is that if there’s not a legally binding agreement, they could change it tomorrow. If a grower was found to be using forced labor they would be suspended from the program, and Whole Foods and McDonald’s could no longer buy from them” but buyers who had not signed could do so. 
That’s a big challenge now,” Kahn-Troster said.

But not too big a challenge the RHR-NA, or the Campaign for Fair Food! Check back soon for more news from Chicago as the advance team meets with student, faith, and community allies ahead of the big Cultivate Festival action this Sept. 15.