Recap: Food Certification Programs for Farmworker Justice

On November 1st, CFF partnered with The Marcus Foundation and SAFSF to host a briefing titled Food Certification Programs for Farmworker Justice. Jonathan Halperin of The Marcus Foundation moderated a discussion about the living and working conditions faced by most farmworkers in the US, and food certification programs that are trying to address and ameliorate these issues.

Jessica Culley described the work of the Farmworkers Support Committee (CATA), a grassroots member-led organization. CATA was also a founding member of the Agricultural Justice Project that issues the “Food Justice Certified” label. Peter O’Driscoll talked about the Equitable Food Initiative and all it has accomplished in the past five years with its “Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured” label that comes only as the result of multi-stakeholder engagement and agreements across the supply chain. And Michael Rozyne talked about his years in the farming and food distribution business with Red Tomato, what it will take to maintain farms in our region, and a pilot project he is engaging in with EFI in Connecticut to explore the model on smaller farms. A video recording is below.

Also in attendance were representatives from other worker organizations such as Workers Justice CenterWorkers’ Center of Central NY, and Food Chain Workers Alliance. And here is a link to the H2A report that Michael displayed and mentioned a number of times, Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States

After the meeting a colleague circulated two reports that are critical of food certification programs, which are shared here.

The time markers below can be used to jump around to different sections of the video. Technical issues caused a gap in recording around the 9min mark, but the full Milk With Dignity video can be watched online.

    • Start – Remarks from caterer Woke Foods
    • 2:30 – Intro and welcome by Adam Liebowitz, CFF Director
    • 5:30 – Video from Milk With Dignity campaign by Migrant Justice
    • 9:10 – Jonathan Halperin introduces agenda and framing
    • 10:45 – Jessica Culley, General Coordinator, Farmworkers Support Committee (CATA)
    • 17:30 – Peter O’Driscoll, Executive Director, Equitable Food Initiative (EFI)
    • 24:30 – Michael Rozyne, Founder and Evangelist, Red Tomato
    • 31:30 – Panel discussion and Q&A

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