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“I see something special when I see SFA in action. It gives me hope that this world will be a better place, and I see us transforming it little by little, one corporate giant after another."
- Juan R., SFA

“It is our hope that today's farmworker movement will serve as one of many points on the horizon that inspires young people to believe in the possibility of a better world – a world where we all have space to realize our dreams."
- Gerardo Reyes, CIW

Who we are

EstudiantesStudent/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) is a national network of students and youth organizing with farmworkers to eliminate sweatshop conditions and modern-day slavery in the fields. We work in alliance with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a Florida-based, membership-led organization of mostly Latino, Haitian, and Mayan Indian low-wage workers.

We understand our work—which formally began in 2000— as part of larger movements for economic and social justice. Through our organizing, we strive to create community and recognize the transformative power of movment building. With this in mind, we ground our efforts in edcation, action, and youth leadership development:

  • Education – raising awareness about farmworkers’ struggles
    SFA organizers facilitate educational activities through which students and farmworkers have the opportunity to come together in an exchange of knowledge and experience, cultivating a critical analysis that reveals the intersections between people on opposite ends of the corporate food industry. This includes worker- and student-led workshops, speaking tours, alternative spring breaks, and internships.


  • Action – uniting with worker-led campaigns
    We are committed to building a base of members whose understanding of social change and injustice in the fields leads them to act in solidarity with farmworkers and simultaneously toward a broader vision of collective liberation through supporting farmworker-led and related campaigns for better wages and working conditions and respect for fundamental human rights.


  • Leadership development – building a larger movement
    In all aspects of our work, we focus heavily on developing the skills and confidence of students and youth so they can organize for social justice around a broad array of issues in their communities.


Our history in brief...


In 2005, farmworkers from the CIW and their allies scored a decisive victory in the national Taco Bell Boycott. Yielding to growing nationwide pressure from the CIW, students, and other allies, Taco Bell and its parent company Yum Brands—the world’s largest restaurant corporation—conceded to all of the boycott’s demands, agreeing to work with the CIW to improve the sub-poverty wages and miserable working conditions of farmworkers in its tomato supply chain. During the Taco Bell Boycott, 25 high schools, colleges and universities removed or prevented Taco Bell restaurants and sponsorships as part of SFA’s Boot the Bell campaign.

Following the Taco bell victory and seeking to expand the victory's precedents to the entire tomato industry, the CIW also led successful campaigns resulting in “Fair Food” agreements with McDonald's, Burger King, Whole Foods and Subway. Once again, students and youth played a vital role in this string of victories that spanned 2007-2008.

SFA returned to intensive campus organizing with the launch of the Dine with Dignity campaign in March of 2009, calling on major food service providers to take responsibility for the conditions in which the produce they serve is harvested. In just 16 months, four of the nation's leading foodservice companies (Bon Appetit, Compass Group, Aramark and Sodexo) had agreed to work with the CIW.

These Fair Food victories and the critical mass of tomato purchasing power they represent contributed greatly to watershed agreements reached in late 2010 between the CIW and Florida growers to expand the CIW's Fair Food code of conduct to over 90% of the Florida tomato industry.

Since then, SFAers have played key roles in victories against both Trader Joe's and Chipotle Mexican Grill. On January 16, 2014 —in a testament to the immense power built by students, farmworkers, and other allies over the course of two decades — the world's largest retailer, Walmart, also joined the Fair Food Program, ushering in the expansion of the Program beyond Florida and beyond tomatoes for the first time ever.

Now, as we have in each of the historic "Fair Food" agreements thus far, students will play an indispensable role in breaking the resistance of corporate holdouts like Wendy's and Publix: the only remaining obstacle to a future of fair wages and working conditions in the fields. On campuses across the country, students have pledged to "Boot the Braids", organizing to sever Wendy's licensing contracts until the company joins its fast food competitors as part of the Fair Food Program. Throughout the Southeast, young people have picketed, fasted, and marched on Publix stores to send a message that - until it commits to the FFP - the supermarket giant will never earn our generation's consumer loyalty.

Through tireless organizing grounded in a program of education, action, and leadership development, we were a driving force behind twelve of the largest victories against corporate greed that our generation has seen, and we're just getting started.

 

PO Box 603, Immokalee, FL 34143 :: (239) 657-8311 :: organize (at) sfalliance.org