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Florida Farm Workers March 200 Miles for a Fairer Tomato

Yes! Magazine / Video Feature
Published: Saturday 13 April 2013
After marching halfway across the state of Florida, members of the Immokalee Coalition of Farm Workers got fired up at a rally in front of Publix headquarters in Lakeland, Fla.

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 farm workers.

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 farm workers.

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