Trader Joe’s signs Fair Food Agreement with Latino tomato pickers

I grew up in South West Florida and remember hearing about the tomato farms in Immokalee, FL, quite often during high school. There were always reports coming out about the horrible abuse that the mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants faced.

But now there’s some good news for the tomato pickets working hard all day on these low-wage jobs to support their families: Trader Joe’s has finally signed a Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers requiring that the grocery store pay a penny more per pound of tomatoes and ensures better working conditions.

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Unfortunately, it has taken years to get Trader Joe’s to sign this agreement. After protesters becoming a common sight at Trader Joe’s locations across the country, it looks like they’re finally following the footsteps of chains like Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King and Whole Foods, who all signed the agreement years ago.

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In a joint press release issued by the coalition and Trader Joe’s, CIW representative Gerardo Reyes said:

“We are truly happy today to welcome Trader Joe’s aboard the Fair Food Program. Trader Joe’s is cherished by its customers for a number of reasons, but high on that list is the company’s commitment to ethical purchasing practices. With this agreement, Trader Joe’s reaffirms that commitment and sends a strong–and timely–message of support to the Florida growers who are choosing to do the right thing, investing in improved labor standards, despite the challenges of a difficult marketplace and tough economic times.”

I’m thrilled to see that one of my favorite grocery stores will now be carrying ethical tomatoes. As a supporter of fair trade, I know that there still many things to accomplish—but as a former Florida girl, this is a great place to be.

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What do you think of Trader Joe’s finally signing the Fair Food Agreement to help Latino tomato pickers?

Images via carterdweller, mar is sea Y/flickr