Working For Justice With the CIW: Taking on Publix

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been a little busy with teaching, cooking, and gardening.  Eating local & seasonal is a commitment that I am dedicated to, but it does take time; it’s called “slow-food” for a reason!  My other project is my commitment to the CIW (Coalition of Immokolee Workers).  Last weekend a group of us formed a new CIW advocacy chapter, Treasure Coast Fair Food. I’m proud to be a part of this support group, but I am also humbled by the other members and the gifts & experience that they bring to our new challenge:  Raising awareness along the Treasure Coast & expanding the campaign for Fair Food in supermarkets like Publix.

The Temple in Stuart hosted Elena & Elvin who drove from Immokolee to give a presentation during Shabbat services.  There were Unitarians, Humanists, Catholics and other Christians, and the Jewish members of Temple Beit Ha Yam all gathered together for an evening of prayer, praise & song.   What an uplifting experience!  Elena & Elvin talked about the conditions that tomato pickers endure in the fields and described the daily routine of farm workers.  Elvin invited the children to come up & lift the tomato bucket (filled with 32 lbs. of rice to equal the weight of a tomato-filled bucket in the field). When describing their living conditions, wages (about $12,000/annually), and the many abuses they suffer, I think many eyes were opened that night, and many hearts were moved with compassion.  During the Q & A period many questions were asked, but one question summed up the whole purpose of that evening, “How can we help?”  The following morning we brainstormed a few ideas to do just that; a group of 12 activists plus Elena & Elvin.

We were all full of energy Saturday morning, and accomplished so much.  By the time I got home I felt like I had thrown back two dozen shots of espresso!  After about 3 hours of conversation, bagels, fruit and frittatas our group had a name, a Google account, a Facebook page (still in the making/tweaking stage!) and a 7-point plan for action!

So, here I go again, if you don’t know what the Fair Food Program is all about click HERE to find out more.  If you live along Florida’s Treasure Coast & would like to join the TCFF Chapter, please contact me in the comments section below, or Elena Stein with Interfaith Action.  You can also find us soon on Facebook!  A Website & social media pages are all under construction, so be patient with that. Please share this post, and (of course) we can use all the prayers you can throw our way as we try to advocate for the CIW!

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4 thoughts on “Working For Justice With the CIW: Taking on Publix

  1. Hi,
    The work that the CIW is doing reminds us of what the word “Good” means. Thank goodness for them, and for you!
    All the best,
    Susan Peacock
    (a Tallahassee CIW supporter)

  2. Hey there! I read about this in the paper…I am a young person who supports the slow, local food movement along with food justice. Also anti-hunger, community nutrition education, etc. I live in Port St. Lucie, am a person of faith and would love to be involved! Please email me with more information. Ashlea.Steiner@gmail.com

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