This past Sunday, as I marched with nearly 1,000 others, passing by 5-star hotels, bewildered tourists and students, I felt proud to be holding the new “Boston Jews for Fair Food” banner. A group of interfaith individuals, we were marching in support of the Coalition for Immokalee Workers and the “penny per pound” campaign. The campaign, which Whole Foods, Taco Bell and even McDonalds have already signed on to, promises one more cent paid per pound of tomatoes collected by workers in the Immokalee section of Florida, one of the largest tomato growing regions in the country (workers currently receive 50 cents for every 32 pounds they pick.) More specifically, we were protesting the Massachusetts-based Ahold company, which owns Stop and Shop grocery stores, and has refused to sign on to the agreement.
To start off the rally, two local rabbis stood in front of the crowd to give an invocation and read a segment of an interfaith statement endorsing the CIW campaign: “In Judaism, food matters — from how our food is harvested to the act of eating itself… Ensuring fair wages and working conditions for the people who grow our food has its roots in Biblical law,” said Rabbi Toba Spitzer of Dorshei Tzedek.