Edited by Laura T. Raynolds and Elizabeth A. Bennett
Walmart’s February 2014 announcement that it would join McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other major food corporations in signing on to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) ‘Fair Food Agreement’ underscores the growing interest in farm labor issues within the landscape of United States-based agrifood activism. For two decades, the CIW had been organizing in Florida’s farm fields and pressuring buyers to support a nominal price premium and Code of Conduct for the tomato workers who are arguably among the most exploited of the nation’s agricultural labor force (Marquis 2014). Recently, mainstream media outlets, food bloggers and popular writers have also turned their attention towards the farmworkers who have largely been sidelined within US alternative food movements. At long last it appears that ethical consumers’ interest in ‘knowing where their food comes from’ might move beyond the agrarian idealism of alternative food movements to include the politically and economically marginalized immigrant workforce so central to US agriculture. Meanwhile, the phenomenal success of international fair trade has prompted calls to ‘bring fair trade home’ to small-scale farmers and workers within the United States. Yet, despite this flurry of attention, progress has been slow. To date, certification of domestic agriculture remains limited and the question remains as to whether such programs will gain traction within the United States, as they have in international export markets.
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