The U.S. Department of Labor announced an award of $2.5 million to support an initiative to assess and expand the successful Fair Food Program model with a pilot project to promote human and labor rights focused on cut flower farms in Chile, Mexico, and South Africa.
Agricultural supply chains around the world are rife with labor violations, including child labor and forced labor. The International Labor Organization currently estimates 13 percent of all adult forced labor and 70 percent of all child labor globally occurs among agriculture workers.
The award to the Fair Food Standards Council, which oversees the Fair Food Program’s implementation, seeks to expand the program internationally. The program has helped eradicate modern slavery on participating farms and extended its protections to workers in 10 states and nine crops domestically. Several current participating buyers in the Fair Food Program have pledged their support for expanding the enforceable protections for workers in the three countries with pilot farms.
Administered by the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, the project will promote grassroots worker-driven social responsibility in agricultural supply chains. An initial feasibility study will assess an international expansion of the Fair Food model for the promotion of worker voice and worker rights. The project will evaluate the results through a comparative assessment of which factors promote or hinder the expansion of the model in agriculture in the three countries.
The project aligns with the department’s commitment to improve labor conditions in global supply chains.