What We Do
The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) oversees implementation of the Fair Food Program, a unique farmworker- and consumer-driven initiative consisting of a:
- Wage increase supported by a price premium paid by corporate purchasers of Florida tomatoes;
- Human-rights-based Code of Conduct, applicable throughout the Florida tomato industry.
The price premium and the Code of Conduct, which were developed by tomato workers, growers, and corporate buyers, form the foundation for a new model of social accountability.
The Fair Food Program emerged from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) successful Campaign for Fair Food, a campaign to affirm the human rights of tomato workers and improve the conditions under which they labor.
The high degree of consolidation in the food industry today means that multi-billion dollar brands on the retail end of the industry are able to leverage their volume purchasing power to demand ever-lower prices, which has resulted in downward pressure on farmworker wages. The Fair Food Program reverses that process, enlisting the resources of participating retail food giants to improve farmworker wages and harnessing their demand to reward growers who respect their workers’ rights.
The Fair Food Program provides an opportunity for those corporations to bring their own considerable resources to the table – their funds and market influence – to help forge a structural, sustainable solution to a human rights crisis that has persisted on U.S. soil for far too long. In the process, the Fair Food Program will help build the foundation for a stronger Florida tomato industry that can differentiate its product in produce aisles and restaurants on the basis of a credible claim to social responsibility and so better weather the challenges of an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Under the Fair Food Program, participating growers have:
- Adopted the Fair Food Code of Conduct as their own;
- Agreed to a worker education program conducted by the CIW on company premises and company time;
- Agreed to have compliance with the program independently monitored;
- Agreed to an independent and verifiable complaint investigation and remediation mechanism in which they participate equally with the CIW and the FFSC;
- Agreed to pass on the “penny-per-pound” price premium to their workers; and
- Agreed to implement a system of health and safety volunteers which affords workers regular and structured input into the safety of their work environment.
The FFSC is based in Sarasota, Florida, and has statewide responsibility for implementing, monitoring, and enforcing the Fair Food Program.