CIW and Orange County supporters outside a Trader Joe's last year
CIW and Orange County supporters outside a Trader Joe's last year

Trader Joe's Agrees to Pay More For Tomatoes it Buys from Florida to Help Out Farmworkers

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) does it again! The group of Florida tomato pickers and their supporters who have wrestled down fast-food titans into paying a penny more per pound of pomodoros over the last decade set its sights last year on Trader Joe's, every hipster's favorite supermarket but one that didn't want to help out Florida farmworkers out of poverty. The CIW pressured them via a letter-writing campaign, protests--and have won.

Today the CIW announced that Trader Joe's has agreed to sign up for their Fair Food Program, "a groundbreaking approach to social responsibility in the US produce industry that combines the Fair Food Code of Conduct-a set of labor standards developed in a unique collaboration among farmworkers, tomato growers, and the food industry leaders who purchase Florida tomatoes-with a small price premium to help improve harvesters' wages," according to their press release.

In other words: Trader Joe's will pay just a little more for its tomatoes to help out some of the people who have made the Monrovia-based company insanely rich. Yay!

"We are truly happy today to welcome Trader Joe's aboard the Fair Food Program," said CIW member Gerardo Reyes in the press release. "Trader Joe's is cherished by its customers for a number of reasons, but high on that list is the company's commitment to ethical purchasing practices. With this agreement, Trader Joe's reaffirms that commitment and sends a strong--and timely--message of support to the Florida growers who are choosing to do the right thing, investing in improved labor standards, despite the challenges of a difficult marketplace and tough economic times."

Congrats, everyone involved! Now, the big question: what's the next titan the CIW has its sights on???

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