Brooklyn Fair Food Festival Schedules Protest at Trader Joe’s

COBBLE HILL — This Saturday, Sept. 24, local consumers and community members will join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an organization of Florida farmworkers, in a daylong public action to call on Trader Joe’s to participate in the Campaign for Fair Food.

The street festival will feature live music from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and colorful, family-friendly protests, including a Children’s Balloon March, at the Cobble Hill Trader Joe’s. During the “Sample Justice” action, protestors will stand outside Trader Joe’s, dressed in Hawaiian shirts (like those worn by Trader Joe’s employees), carrying trays of sample cups with a single penny in each.

Trader Joe’s shoppers will be encouraged to take the penny inside Trader Joe’s, along with a manager letter, and let management know that they’d like the penny to be passed on to the farm workers who pick the produce that Trader Joe’s sells.

The CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food seeks to improve the wages and working conditions of Florida farmworkers by committing major buyers of tomatoes to pay a premium of one penny per pound of tomatoes to be passed directly to farmworkers, and to work together with the CIW to implement a code of conduct for employers in their supply chains. ‘Today, we are finally beginning to see the first glimmers of more humane treatment at work, thanks to the Campaign for Fair Food,” said Oscar Otzoy of the CIW. “But Trader Joe’s is standing in the way of progress, and their refusal to help improve farm labor wages and working conditions threatens to undermine the unprecedented, and still fragile, human rights advances that are just now starting to take root in the fields. Despite Trader Joe’s claims of integrity and sustainability, they have refused even to meet with the coalition.”

Co-sponsors of Saturday’s event include East New York Farms, Brandworkers, ROC-NY, Small Planet Institute, Prospect Park CSA, South Bronx CSA, Bed-Stuy Farm Share, Brooklyn Food Coalition, Just Food, Jornaleros Unidos, Poverty Initiative, Domestic Workers United, and Workers United, and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative.

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