Whole Foods Market has announced its intentions to become the first food retailer to sell Fair Food Program certified strawberries. The berries have become available for the first time this season.
This decision expands Whole Foods’ preexisting Fair Food Program partnership, which began in 2008, when Whole Foods became the first supermarket to join this effort.
The first certified strawberries will come from Florida-based Sunripe Certified Brands. The partnership requires Whole Foods to pay more for each case of strawberries in order to supplement the income of the farmworkers who produce them.
The Fair Food Program was initially launched by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a worker-based human rights organization based in Immokalee, Florida. The coalition is known for its achievements in combatting human trafficking and gender-based workplace violence particularly in the tomato industry.
The Fair Food Program was the result of the campaign and subsequent agreement between the Coalition and the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange to implement the Fair Food Code of Conduct on 90 percent of the state’s tomato farms. The tradition continues with this announcement, as Sunripe Certified Brands, also known as Pacific Tomato Growers, was the first company to have their tomatoes certified by the Fair Food Program.
"As the first tomato grower to implement the Fair Food Program at all of our tomato operations, Sunripe Certified Brands is proud to be the first grower to extend the guarantee of a safe and fair workplace to the strawberry fields of Florida," said Jon Esformes, CEO of Sunripe Certified Brands. "We're honored and humbled to play a part in creating change for the most vulnerable of American workers, and strongly urge other growers to join this important movement."
The strawberries will be available at Whole Foods throughout the American southeast as supply allows. The strawberries and tomatoes from Sunripe will also be the first to feature new Fair Food Program labels.
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