Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Denver Fair Food wastes no time in making the pivot...

Ask not for whom the bell tolls in Denver, King Soopers (aka Kroger), it tolls for you!

(Note: see below for exclusive pictures from the action in Denver. -Denver Fair Food) 
All is decidedly not quiet on the western front in the fight for food justice!
Just days after last week's big announcement that the CIW had reached a Fair Food agreement with Chipotle, the incredible crew at Denver Fair Food is back in the street, taking its message to local grocery giant King Soopers (one of two brands in the Rocky Mountain region owned by Kroger, the other being City Market).
From the ("Chipotle signs Fair Food Agreement, is Kroger next?", 10/9/12):
"Protests for Chipotle’s Cultivate festival at City Park in Denver were cancelled due to Chipotle’s recent alliance with the CIW. Instead, on Saturday October 7, 2012, The CIW and protesters gathered outside of the King Soopers on 9th and Corona to ask Kroger (King Soopers parent company) to follow Chipotle and become the 12th corporation along with McDonald’s, Burger King, and Whole Foods to sign the Fair Food Agreement. Oscar Otzoy and Gerardo Reyes from the CIW along with members from the Student Farmworker Alliance, Denver Fair Food, and Reverend Mary from Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church reported that they delivered a letter to the manager of King Soopers asking them to join the FFP."
Robert McGoey, a longtime stalwart of the Campaign for Fair Food in Denver, spoke about the significance of the agreement with Chipotle and the next chapter in the campaign for Denver Fair Food:
"(The Chipotle agreement) is a reminder that grassroots organizing between conscientious consumers and farmworkers has the power to shape our food system for the better. We... can take an active role in creating the world we want to see.

"Now it is time for the country's massive supermarket chains to join the Fair Food Program. Here in Denver we'll be calling on Kroger, the nation's largest supermarket chain and owner of the local King Soopers brand, to join." read more
If what's past is indeed prologue, the time has come for King Soopers to stop stalling and join the Fair Food Program! There will undoubtedly be much more to come from Denver Fair Food, so we, for one, will be keeping an eye turned to the west in the weeks and months ahead.
And with that we will give the final word of this update to the fine people of Denver, Colorado, graphic style:
Exclusive Photos:
Denver allies marched from Cheesman Park to King Soopers...
to tell the grocer: Time's Up! Join the Fair Food Program!
A delegation from the CIW and Denver community delivered a giant letter to King Soopers manager.
Afterward we had a brief rally across the street knowing that a New Day is dawning! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Denver, We Did It! Chipotle signs agreement with CIW to join Fair Food Program!

Denver, we did it! After many long years of struggle and the participation of so, so many people from Denver in ways both large and small, Chipotle Mexican Grill has finally signed a Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers! There is so much more to say, so much gratitude to express, so much pride, so much celebration!
For now though, Check out this announcement from the CIW.
While there will not be a march this Saturday at the Cultivate Festival, plans are in the works to instead hold a protest at King Soopers, part of the massive Kroger supermarket chain and another target of the CIW's Campaign for Fair Food.
And there will also be a celebration Saturday night!
Stayed tuned for updates. Thank you everyone! -Denver Fair Food

From left to right, the CIW's Oscar Otzoy, Chipotle's Chris Arnold, and the CIW's Gerardo Reyes, joined in the background by student and faith allies, at today's signing ceremony at Chipotle's Denver headquarters.
From the joint press release:
(Note: With the signing of today's agreement, all plans for this weekend's
action in Denver are CANCELLED)
Chris Arnold
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Gerardo Reyes
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
DENVER, October 4, 2012 – Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker-based human rights organization, have reached an agreement that brings Chipotle’s commitment to sustainable food to the CIW’s Fair Food Program. The agreement, which will improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers in Florida who pick tomatoes for Chipotle, comes in advance of the winter tomato-growing season, when most of the nation’s tomatoes come from growers in Florida.

The Fair Food Program provides a bonus for tomato pickers to improve wages and binds growers to protocols and a code of conduct that explicitly include a voice for workers in health and safety issues, worker-to-worker education on the new protections under the code, and a complaint resolution procedure which workers can use without fear of retaliation. The Program also provides for independent third party audits to ensure compliance.

“With this agreement, we are laying down a foundation upon which we all – workers, growers, and Chipotle – can build a stronger Florida tomato industry for the future,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW. “But more than this, today’s news marks a turning point in the sustainable food movement as a whole, whereby, thanks to Chipotle’s leadership, farmworkers are finally recognized as true partners -- every bit as vital as farmers, chefs, and restaurants -- in bringing ‘good food’ to our tables.”

“Chipotle has an unmatched track record driving positive change in the nation's food supply and is continuously working to find better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use — sources that produce food in ways that demonstrate respect for the land, farm animals, and the people involved,” said Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle. “We believe that this agreement underscores our long-standing commitment to the people who produce the food we serve in our restaurants.”

Chipotle becomes the 11th company to join the CIW’s Fair Food Program, which is designed to create a sustainable tomato industry through respect for the rights and concerns of all involved. The Fair Food Premium paid by participating buyers like Chipotle is used to help participating growers improve wages and working conditions for Florida farmworkers.

About Chipotle
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that—where possible—are sustainably grown and naturally raised with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. A similarly focused people culture, with an emphasis on identifying and empowering top performing employees, enables us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and currently operates more than 1,300 restaurants. For more information, visit

About CIW
The CIW ( is a community-based farmworker organization headquartered in Immokalee, Florida, with over 4,000 members. The CIW seeks modern working conditions for farmworkers and promotes their fair treatment in accordance with national and international human rights standards. The CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food has won unprecedented support for fundamental farm labor reforms, through the Fair Food Program, from retail food industry leaders. The Fair Food Program taps the unique powers of all the elements of our country's food industry:
  1. of consumers, to demand the highest ethical standards for food production;
  2. of food retailers, to use their tremendous buying power both to demand higher labor standards of their suppliers and help raise farmworkers out of poverty through a price that supports sustainable production;
  3. of growers, to continuously improve their operations and meet consumer demand, keeping pace with an evolving marketplace, and,
  4. of farmworkers, to help expose and fix the worst abuses and apply their unique knowledge toward modernizing, and humanizing, our farm labor system.
Again, with this agreement, all plans for this weekend's action in Denver are CANCELLED.
There will be much more on this developing story in the days ahead, so check back again soon!