Florida Farmworkers March 200 Miles for a Fairer Tomato

After marching halfway across the state of Florida, members of the Immokalee Coalition of Farmworkers got fired up at a rally in front of Publix headquarters in Lakeland, Fla. Here’s some of what they had to say.

Earlier this month, members of Florida’s Coalition of Immokalee Workers, along with allies including students and religious leaders, marched 200 miles in the Florida sun and rain to demand better wages and conditions for farmworkers.

Their journey began in the Gulf Coast city of Fort Myers and continued north to the central town of Lakeland. The march, which took two weeks to complete, was intended to put pressure on the grocery store company Publix to sign on to the coalition’s “Fair Food Program.” That program gives Florida tomato pickers a pay increase supported by a small price premium. Eleven companies have already signed the agreement, including Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Chipotle.

Once in Lakeland, the marchers congregated at Publix headquarters, where they held a spirited rally. You can check out some highlights of that event in the video. The speeches, music, and the enthusiasm of the crowd are a testament to the powerful work the coalition is doing, and to the growing alliances between students, religious communities, and rural immigrant farmworkers.

  • It’s organic. It’s local. But did the workers who picked it have health insurance?
  • Under an agreement between the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Taco Bell, workers will receive one cent more per pound of tomatoes picked
  • A short documentary shows a side of tomatoes few people ever see or think about.


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