the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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support farmworkers – boycott wendy’s

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credit: coalition of immokalee workers/vimeo

As part of today’s Food Week action, support farmworkers by delivering a manager’s letter to a Wendy’s near you.

Dear Wendy’s Manager,

As a Wendy’s consumer and supporter of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) groundbreaking Fair Food Program, I urge Wendy’s to join with the CIW and the Florida tomato industry as they work to eliminate the forced labor, poverty wages and other human rights abuses historically faced by Florida farmworkers who harvest your tomatoes.

For decades, Florida’s farmworkers endured poverty wages and daily violations of their basic rights in order to harvest the food on our plates:

• Stagnant, sub-poverty wages: Florida tomato harvesters are still paid by the piece. The prevailing piece rate today is 50 cents for every 32-lbs of tomatoes a worker picks, a rate that has remained virtually unchanged since 1980. As a result of that stagnation, a worker today must pick nearly 2.5 tons of tomatoes to earn minimum wage in a typical 10-hour workday. Most farmworkers today earn less than $12,000 a year.

• Absence of fundamental labor rights: Florida farmworkers have no right to overtime pay, no benefits and no right to organize in order to improve these conditions.

• Modern-day slavery: In the most extreme cases, workers have been forced to labor against their will through the use or threat of physical violence.

The good news is that a new day has dawned in the fields. The Fair Food Program, an historic partnership among farmworkers, tomato growers, and eleven leading food corporations is building a new tomato industry that advances the human rights and dignity of farmworkers while strengthening the sustainability of the entire industry. By joining the Fair Food Program, corporations require more humane working conditions from their Florida tomato suppliers, pay a small premium to help support those improved conditions, and commit to purchase exclusively from growers who meet the Program’s higher standards. These commitments are monitored and audited by the Fair Food Standards Council, a nonprofit third party organization, to ensure accountability and transparency.

Of the five largest fast food corporations in the country — McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, Taco Bell (Yum! Brands), and Wendy’s — Wendy’s is the only one not participating in the Fair Food Program. Sustainable restaurant leader Chipotle Mexican Grill also participates.

Wendy’s has responded to consumers’ calls to join the Fair Food Program by saying “[W]e pay a premium to our tomato suppliers in Florida, and expect them to take care of their employees. All of our Florida tomato suppliers participate in the Fair Food Program.”

The truth is, whatever premium Wendy’s may be paying is not the Fair Food Premium, it is not being monitored by the Fair Foods Standards Council, and it is not going to address farmworkers’ grinding poverty. Wendy’s statement that its suppliers belong to the Fair Food Program is both unverifiable and meaningless because Wendy’s, unlike its competitors in the Fair Food Program, does not have to, and does not, tell anyone who its tomato suppliers are. Nor does Wendy’s have to suspend its purchases from any participating grower found out of compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct. These are the dual linchpins that give the Program its teeth, and Wendy’s simply is not doing its part.

The Fair Food Program is a proven model, recognized by both the White House and the United Nations, that offers Wendy’s a tremendous opportunity to become, without incurring any competitive disadvantage, part of the human rights advances in Florida’s fields.

As a Wendy’s consumer, I look forward to your company working with the CIW and with Florida’s tomato growers through the Fair Food Program to ensure human rights for Florida farmworkers who harvest the tomatoes used in your restaurants.

For more information, please contact the CIW at 239-657-8311 or workers@ciw-online.org.

Sincerely

You can download, a copy of this letter to print and mail HERE.


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maine harvest credit project

Hey young farmers!

There is a  new Credit Union for farmers in Maine! It was founded in recognition that access to credit is one of the most difficult hurdles for young and new farmers to overcome. The Maine Harvest Credit Project is working to create a specialised credit union that is focused on providing credit to small farms and relocalizing the food economy in Maine. Their aim is to fill crucial financing gaps in the traditional credit system such as land acquisition, specialized food processing and farm equipment.

They believe that the creation of Maine Harvest will have an  impact well beyond Maine’s borders.  As the first deposit-taking institution in the USA focused on food system re-localization they will be a model for other states and regions looking to scale up the financing options for small scale, sustainably produced food and agricultural products. This is the start of something very important!

The project still needs a million dollars in order to get its accreditation, we think that this is the perfect opportunity for a tech investment (if you farm for a tech person, please pass this on for them to look at!)

To read more about the Maine Harvest Credit Union click HERE

If you or somebody you know is interested in becoming a donor, please contact Sam or Scott directly.

Sam May: sam@ddragonllc.com / 207.653.2260

Scott Budde: scott.j.budde@gmail.com / 207.653.5527


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book: land justice: re-imagining land, food, and the commons

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credit: Friedrich-Karl Mohr

“Hunger and poverty are perpetuated by undemocratic systems of power. Now, this great new resource lifts the veil hiding the history of dispossession and unequal land access in the US.” – Frances Moore Lappé

Land access is the primary barrier for young farmers today. Ensuring access for young farmers who are passionate about the production of healthy food that helps rather than harms the planet is critical in order to address and resolve the injustices in the food system that are at the root of so many of the problems in society.

The authors of this new book Justine M. Williams and Eric Holt-Giménez begins with the history of colonialism in the southwestern US. It includes information from the important leaders within the food system With prefaces from leaders in the food justice and family farming movements, the book opens with a look at the legacies of white-settler colonialism in the southwestern United State which can be largely characterised by widespread enclosure  – and often subsequent depletion – of the rural commons through a process of privatization, that has endured until today. The history of this agricultural system is marred by racism, industrialization and destruction of ecosystems, and has concentrated much of the prosperity to be found in the food system in the hands of the few and powerful.

This book recognises what we have known for a long time: In order to move forward and achieve an equitable, sovereign and sustainable agricultural system for all, all of the players in the food movement must come together to demand land justice.

You can buy the book HERE.

 


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international day for the eradication of poverty

Today is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the theme this year is: A path towards peaceful and inclusive societies.  Todays call to action recognizes the importance of reaching out the the poorest throughout the world. As a global society, we are only as rich as our poorest member and we all prosper when those at the bottom succeed. Almost a billion people live in extreme poverty, this year’s theme reminds us of the importance of the values of dignity, solidarity for all people.

To read more about this year’s theme, click HERE


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its world food day!

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Today is world food day and the second day of Food Week of Action. World food day was established in 1945 on the anniversary of the launch of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Celebrated on the 16th of October each year, the purpose is to raise awareness of hunger and poverty and to inspire ideas for change, the ultimate goal is zero hunger. The FAO gives 8 reasons why we should all do what we can to achieve zero hunger:

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happy international day of rural women!

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credit: UN Women/Narendra Shrestha

The UN designated October 15th as international day of rural women in recognition of the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing. Rural women play an invaluable and significant role in food security, resource stewardship and and environmental sustainability. Although women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force, in addition to the bulk to unpaid domestic and care work, women and girls in rural areas suffer more extreme levels of poverty. They also face gender related barriers to exiting poverty due to difficulties accessing credit, land and other essentials.

“Globally, with few exceptions, every gender and development indicator for which data are available reveals that rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women, and that they disproportionately experience poverty, exclusion and the effects of climate change.” – .un.org

The focus of International Day for Rural Women 2017 is: “Challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” Rural women and girls are disproportionately affected by by climate change events and conditions including access to natural resources and the consequences of climate change can often reinforce and intensify existing gender inequalities.

When women succeed, all aspects of society improve as a result. They play a key role in building community resilience and responding to climate-related disasters. They tend to make decisions about resource use and investments in the interest and welfare of their children, families and communities. When women are empowered to act as both economic and political actors, they influence policy decisions in the direction of provision of a public good and access to social infrastructure. All of these are crucial for  peaceful societies that be resilient in the face of disaster.

Today also marks the beginning of Food Week of Action, presented by the Presbyterian Hunger Programme – this year we are proud co-sponsors! Every day this week has a theme or action that you can take to make a real change in the world.

To read more about this year’s celebration at UN Women click HERE.