Monday, February 25, 2013

Farm Labor Reality Tour brings a clear message: Fairness for Family Farmers and Farm Workers

AliciaFamily farmers and farm workers are hitting the road and taking it to the streets.

A two-week “Farm Labor Reality Tour” caravan across 15 states launched last week (February 21st), heading west from Maine and eventually turning southbound to Florida.

Longtime Farm Aid partner Family Farm Defenders joined with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Food for Maine’s Future to draw attention to the struggles of family farmers and farm workers—all of whom work the land to produce food for Americans.

Says Wisconsin diary farmer Joel Greeno, “The people who grow food for this country – be they independent family farmers or farm workers – are not getting paid a fair wage for their work. That has to change.”

Inspired by the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s Fair Food Campaign, which won agreements with major fast food companies to improve wages and working conditions for farm workers, Family Farm Defenders has launched the Land O’ Fakes campaign, calling on consumers to demand that Land O’Lakes pay its farmer members a living wage for their milk.

As such, a major stop on the tour will be in Minneapolis on February 27th, to speak out at the Land O’Lakes Annual Meeting at the Hilton Hotel downtown. People in the area are encouraged to show solidarity with the farmers in attendance who will demand that Land O’Lakes pay them a fair price.

Nationwide, the number of dairy farms has fallen from more than 640,000 in 1970 to fewer than 60,000 today. If dairy farmers are to stay in business, they must receive a fair price. Like so many sectors, big corporate players and in this case—a giant dairy processor—has a hand in manipulating the prices farmers get for their milk. Check out our Dairy Page for more information on the ongoing price crisis for dairy farmers.

Can’t make it to Minneapolis? Consider signing their petition to Land O’Lakes.

The two-week tour ends in Immokalee, Florida on March 2nd, when it joins with the March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food led by CIW.

Are you interested in getting involved or joining the tour? Contact Bob St. Peter of Food for Maine’s Future at bobstpeter@gmail.com.

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