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March 2, 2009
12:24 PM

CONTACT: Just Harvest USA

Damara Luce, Director, Just Harvest USA
(510) 725-8752

Leading Food Advocates To Visit Farmworker Community Dubbed 'Ground Zero for Modern Slavery'

Delegation to shine light on urgent need for reform in Florida agriculture industry

Immokalee, FL - March 2 - On Wednesday, March 4th, a dozen prominent authors, sustainable food advocates, and small farmers will participate in a day-long delegation to Immokalee, Florida to witness firsthand the miserable living and working conditions of migrant farmworkers. Delegates will spend the day with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a nationally recognized farmworker organization at the forefront of fighting to improve farmworkers' sub-poverty wages; combating forced labor in the Florida agricultural industry; and demanding that corporate food retailers use their market power to ensure more humane labor standards from their Florida tomato suppliers.


Frances Moore Lappé, Author, Diet for a Small Planet;
Raj Patel, Author, Stuffed and Starved;
Josh Viertel, President, Slow Food USA;
Bill Ayres, Executive Director, World Hunger Year;
Ben Burkett, President, National Family Farm Coalition;
Mike Moon, Family Farm Defenders;
Eric Holt-Gimenez, Executive Director, Food First/Institute for Development Policy;
LaDonna Redmond, President & CEO, Institute for Community Resource Development;
Tom Philpott, Food Editor and Columnist,;
Jim Goodman, Organic Farmer;
Anim Steel, Director of National Programs, The Food Project

WHAT Sustainable food advocates will tour farmworker community where most recent slavery case in the Florida agricultural industry occurred.

WHERE Coalition of Immokalee Workers Community Center
110 S. 2nd St.
Immokalee, FL 34142

WHEN Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Press conference to take place at 1:00 pm at CIW Community Center.
Leaders will take walking tour of Immokalee farmworker community at 11:00 am.

WHY Farmworkers who pick tomatoes for the corporate food industry are among the country's least paid,
least protected workers. They earn about 45 cents for every 32-lb. bucket of tomatoes they pick – a rate that has not
changed significantly in 30 years – working from dusk to dawn without the right to overtime pay. They receive no
benefits and are excluded from the right to organize. In the most extreme cases, captive workers are held against
their will by their employers through threats or violence – including beatings, shootings, and pistol-whippings.
There have been seven federal prosecutions by the Department of Justice for forced labor in the Florida agricultural
industry in the past ten years, involving well over one thousand farmworkers.
This is the first-ever delegation of sustainable food advocates to Immokalee.

Just Harvest USA is a national organization that aims to build a more just and sustainable food system with a focus on
establishing fair wages, humane working conditions, and fundamental rights for farmworkers. They achieve this
through broad public education about the conditions in which our food is produced and mobilizing support for
farmworker-led and other grassroots campaigns.
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