Farmworkers finish the successful Organizing Tour; legislators and allies endorse Milk with Dignity
Posted Thu, 04/27/2023 - 3:02pm
After a month on the road, we have wrapped up the Milk with Dignity Organizing Tour! Over the past four weeks, we held more than 50 tour stops, meeting with communities across seven states to build support for the Milk with Dignity campaign and to take action at Hannaford Supermarkets around the region.
This was the most ambitious tour that Migrant Justice has ever undertaken, and it was a resounding success. In churches and synagogues, at schools and colleges, in public libraries and on community farms, we connected with hundreds of new supporters and mobilized them to push Hannaford to join Milk with Dignity. Press coverage of the tour brought the message to thousands more. (read, for example, articles from the Maine Beacon and the Newport Daily Express)
With pressure mounting on Hannaford, we are asking supporters to call the company headquarters and urge them to meet with farmworkers. Throughout the campaign, thousands of people have called the office of Hannaford President Mike Vail to show their solidarity. Today, International Workers’ Day, take a minute to make a call: tell Hannaford that you want Milk with Dignity!
When you call Hannaford today, you won’t be the only one contacting the company to support farmworker rights. Hannaford is receiving two letters today from groups endorsing the campaign and calling on the company to join Milk with Dignity.
The first letter comes from Vermont RENEWS, a coalition of labor and climate organizations, representing thousands of members. The coalition wrote Hannaford:
“We urge Hannaford to adopt the solutions that farmworkers are asking for: Milk With Dignity. These solutions offer true, systemic justice for Vermont’s farmworkers that are vetted and developed by farmworkers themselves: standards for labor and housing, independent audits, monitoring of complaints, and a Milk with Dignity certification that your products are sourced free from human rights abuses. This solution would not only benefit Vermont's farmworkers; Hannaford would be seen by consumers across the Northeast as a shining example of food justice and sustainability, farms would receive a fair price for their products, and shoppers would let go of their hesitations, knowing that the food they’re buying is not contributing to the suffering of others.”
The second was sent by a group of 55 Vermont state representatives and senators, who signed their support for Milk with Dignity. They wrote:
“The Milk With Dignity Program is a powerful, reasonable solution to the current model which profits from the compromised health and safety of our labor force... Farmworkers are due the same basic human rights and fair treatment as all Vermont workers: fair wages, safe housing, access to safety equipment, protection from violence and sexual harassment, and access to medical treatment from workplace injuries.”
…and before you go, check out a selection of photos from the Milk with Dignity Organizing tour! We posted from every stop along the tour, so be sure to follow our instagram, twitter, and facebook pages to see the full array of photos.
The Milk with Dignity Organizing Tour traveled to seven states throughout April, making 50 stops. We went as far east as Milbridge, ME, where we met with a group of mostly blueberry workers at the Milbridge Elementary School…
…and as far west as Albany, NY, hosted by the Albany Social Justice Center
The tour brought us some traditional speaking venues, like this classroom at Connecticut College…
…and to some unlikely places as well, like this presentation in the high tunnel at Global Village Farm in Grafton, MA
Farmworkers and organizers started by presenting to audiences on the history of Migrant Justice and the creation of the Milk with Dignity Program, like at this presentation to students and faculty at Hanover High School in New Hampshire.
At many stops, workers on Milk with Dignity farms provided direct testimony about the rights and benefits they have won through the program. Here farmworker spokesperson Yovani Moreno addresses a crowd at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT.
We then followed by asking attendees to post a comment on Hannaford’s social media pages sharing what they had learned. Below, students at Brown University in Providence, RI give Hannaford a piece of their mind.
We shared details about an upcoming action, and participants – like those at The Food Project in Lincoln, MA – filled out pledge forms to march with farmworkers in June.
Finally, at most stops, we traveled to a nearby Hannaford, to speak with the manager, like at this store in Portsmouth, NH…
… or to march on the store, like here in Portland, ME.
And we always ended with a group photo, like this one from Belfast, ME.
Tour participants walked away having taken action to support farmworker rights, because… “The cows don’t milk themselves!”