It makes me a bit emotional to see that there are writers out there, who have an audience, willing to lend their influence to a movement. Any movement.
The community support in the NYC area for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has increased in numbers and visibility. I first heard about them at the USSF in 2007, and became reacquainted with them last year when a friend and I visited the Modern-Day Slavery Traveling Museum parked right outside of Judson Memorial Church in 2010.
The CIW fights for fare wages and the rights of tomato-pickers from the Southwest Florida area, who provide tomatoes all-year round to major corporations like Whole Foods, Burger King, McDonalds, and Trader Joe’s. Agreements for collaboration now exist with all mentioned businesses, except Trader Joe’s. Yes, I was shocked, too. However, the CIW continues to come on strong, and even held a demonstration at the Trader Joe’s on 14th St. in Manhattan on May Day in NYC. They entered Union Square (about 2 blocks away) after their protest, led by a brass band. Classy!
With all that momentum, I was incredibly excited to read NYT-guru-of-all-the-foodies-you-know, Mark Bittman’s article, Immokalee, America’s Tomato Capital. Bittman is an incredible witness to document the struggle of the Immokalee Workers. I’m sure the piece has lead a number of folks to learn more about the national farmers workers’ rights movement, and that possibility just makes me so happy for the CIW and the advancement of their organizing! I’m really looking forward to the longer, follow-up writing Bittman promises.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the author’s work, you can find him at the NYT as The Minimalist. Enjoy the videos!