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Whole Foods Market said last week that Lady Moon Farms and Alderman Farms are the first Florida tomato growers to sign agreements with the natural food retailer in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) "penny-per-pound" program, which is designed to boost tomato harvesters’ pay. Both farms are long-term partners of Whole Foods.
According to Karen Christensen, global produce coordinator for the grocer, "Agreements like these are in the best interests of the people who harvest our tomatoes and are consistent with Whole Foods Market's core values."
“[T]he higher wages and fairer conditions we have fought for will begin to reach the workers who so clearly deserve them, thanks to the leadership of Whole Foods Market and the forward-thinking growers at Alderman Farms and Lady Moon Farms,” added Lucas Benitez of the CIW. “Without a doubt, the food market is changing, and for the better. Sustainability, both social and environmental, is the way of the future. Together, farmworkers, farmers and buyers are forging a path toward that better future.”
In September 2008, Whole Foods became the first supermarket operator to sign an agreement with the CIW to work in concert to help improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers.
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods employs 51,100 associates and operates more than 280 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.