Trader Joe's presents itself as a hip, progressive place to shop, full of vegetarian options and free from the plethora of hot-orange processed snacks found elsewhere.
But Trader Joe's refuses to take one very critical progressive step and join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) Campaign for Fair Food. And because of their refusal, you might just be buying tomatoes produced under sweatshop conditions -- or worse -- from those friendly, Hawaiian shirt-wearing joes.
Both everyday 'sweatshop' conditions as well as the extreme of modern-day slavery are reality for many farmworkers right here in the U.S. In Florida, well over 1,000 farmworkers have been freed from forced labor operations in the past 15 years.
The ultimate solution to modern-day slavery in agribusiness lies on the "demand side" of the U.S. produce market -- the major food-buying corporations that profit from the artificially-low cost of U.S. produce picked by workers in sweatshop and, in the worst cases, slavery conditions. Ultimately, those modern mega corporations must leverage their vast resources and market influence as major produce buyers to clean up slavery and other labor abuses in their supply chains once and for all.
This is where you come in. As a consumer, you have the power to ensure the workers who grow and harvest your food are getting fair pay for their work and are being treated with dignity. The CIW's Campaign for Fair Food harnesses the purchasing power of the food industry for the betterment of farm worker wages and working conditions.
Please, ask Trader Joe's to join the campaign.