Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Chipotle Commits to Fair, Fresh Tomatoes

Chipotle has ended a six-year feud with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers by agreeing to buy tomatoes from Florida farms that pay fair wages to employees.

A protest sign rests against the tree. The sign is red and shaped like a tomato, and it reads

Photo: hihaivo (Flickr)

By signing on to the Fair Food Program, Chipotle is agreeing to buy all of its Florida tomatoes from farms that charge a penny more per pound to ensure fair wages and humane living conditions for workers.

Chipotle Mexican Grill signed a fair food agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) on Thursday, October 5 in Denver.

This signature ends a six-year feud with the CIW, an organization that campaigns for farm workers to be paid a fair wage and provided with good living conditions.

Food With Integrity

Chipotle has long promoted its image as ethical, emphasizing that their pork is pasture-raised, hormone-free and sourced from small farmers, and that it buys produce from local farmers whenever possible.

But the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has countered that to truly provide “food with integrity,” the chain must defend the rights of the people who harvest their produce.

By signing on to the CIW’s Fair Food Program, Chipotle committed to purchasing Florida tomatoes grown only on farms whose minimum wage and living conditions are monitored by the Fair Food Standards Council.

These farms offset their higher costs by charging a penny more per pound for these tomatoes.

Initial Reluctance Overcome

Chipotle first discussed joining the Fair Food Program in 2009, but talks fell apart because the agreement would have required Chipotle to gain approval from the CIW before buying tomatoes from a non-approved farm.

The company worried that it would be not always be able to source tomatoes of the quality it needed from approved farms.

Spokesman Chris Arnold asserted that while Chipotle had not signed on to the Fair Food Program, it has sourced all of its Florida tomatoes from CIW-approved farms since 2009.

Joining McDonald’s, Taco Bell

Chipotle sources between 15 and 20 percent of its tomatoes from Florida. The rest come from California and Arizona.

Chipotle is the 11th major company to sign on to the Fair Food Program, joining the ranks of McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell, Burger King and Trader Joe’s.

Read More:

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill Will Join Farmworkers Fair Food Program (Denver Post)
  • Farmworker Coalition Signs Chipotle To Higher-Wage Agreement For Tomato Pickers (Naples Daily News)
  • Chipotle, CIW Finally Reach Accord To Support Florida Tomato Pickers’ Rights (Huffington Post)
Sarah Gordon

Sarah Gordon has been interested in food ethics since she was 15, learned about industrial slaughter, and launched into 10 years of vegetarianism. These days, she strives to be a conscientious omnivore. Now a PhD candidate in folklore, her research has caused her to spend a lot of time in the remote Canadian sub-arctic, where the lake trout (sustainably harvested) tastes amazing.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media