Food Certification Programs for Farmworker Justice, 11/1

Farm workers in a berry field

Thursday November 1

12 – 2pm

North Star Fund
520 8th Ave, suite 1800

Register Here by 10/30

This event will be livestreamed
Lunch sponsored by Woodcock Foundation

Although the backbone of our food system, farmworkers are often marginalized in discussions about food and agriculture. Despite the upsurge in interest and consumption of organic, local, or certified produce, the working and living conditions for most farmworkers planting, picking, and packing fresh fruits and vegetables have remained largely as they have been for decades. Examining the nuts and bolts of creating just and equitable food and agriculture systems — across diverse crops, geography, and scale — our lunchtime discussion will also look at innovative opportunities for philanthropic resources to leverage the power of markets to drive change.

We will explore:

  • How can philanthropy catalyze systems-level change in business performance through focusing on social justice and food safety?
  • Can social justice and business values be aligned or are they inherently incompatible?
  • How can we make sure standards and certification systems intended to drive change are not used to shield bad actors?

Join us on November 1st to learn how three different organizations are changing the status quo, moving farmworkers to the center of the fresh produce sector.

  • Jessica Culley, General Coordinator of the Farmworkers Support Committee (CATA) will describe the evolution of its programs to empower and educate migrant farmworkers through leadership development and capacity building. Founded by workers in southern New Jersey in 1979, CATA also works in Southern Pennsylvania and Maryland and is a founding member of the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), a domestic fair trade certification initiative seeking empowerment, justice, and fairness for all who labor from farm to retail.
  • Peter O’Driscoll, Executive Director of the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), will explain how in five years its collaborative model and standards program has engaged more than 25,000 farmworkers on EFI-certified fresh produce farms in Canada, the US, Mexico and Guatemala.
  • Michael Rozyne, founder of Red Tomato will share his experience in Connecticut creating “righteous produce”  as well as a pilot project with Lyman Orchards to explore if and how the EFI model can be applied on smaller farms.

Moderated by Jonathan Halperin of the the Marcus Foundation, and
co-sponsored by Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF)

More about the presenters

Jessica Culley has been working with the grassroots community organizing of CATA – The Farmworkers’ Support Committee over the past 18 years in a variety of roles from Community Organizer to Program Coordinator and now as CATA’s General Coordinator. Jessica represents CATA within several alliances including the Board of the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), a domestic fair trade initiative seeking empowerment, justice and fairness for all who labor from farm to retail, and the Chesapeake Foodshed Network, an organization dedicated to working towards the vision of “a sustainable, resilient, inclusive and equitable food system that supports healthy communities, land and waterways in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”

Peter O’Driscoll is Executive Director of Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), a non-profit skill-building and certification organization that improves working conditions, pest management and food safety in the fresh produce industry. EFI works with major buyers, suppliers, workers and consumer groups to provide greater assurance regarding supply chain conditions, while generating measurable value for all stakeholders.

Michael Rozyne has been a marketer of small farm products for three decades. He worked on conventional and organic farms in Maine, and was Purchaser and Marketer for a regional food distributor in New England. He was cofounder of the fair trade coffee company, Equal Exchange. He started Red Tomato in 1996 and now works as Red Tomato’s Evangelist.
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