The Fair Food Standards Council Inc
330 S Pineapple Ave
Suite 201
Sarasota FL 34236-7032
For decades, farmworkers in the US have experienced sub-standard wages and working conditions. Today, this is changing for thousands of men and women, thanks to the Fair Food Program.

The Fair Food Program, which grew out of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Campaign for Fair Food, brings together workers, consumers, growers and corporate buyers in support of fair wages and humane labor standards in the agricultural industry. The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC), based in Sarasota, Florida, has responsibility for implementing, monitoring, and enforcing the Fair Food Program.
After four years of implementation across the Florida tomato industry, in the summer of 2015, the FFP expanded to cover several Participating Growers’ operations in Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey. The FFP has also begun to expand into Florida green bell peppers and strawberries. Lastly, the Program has launched a consumer-facing Fair Food label which will help to foster and harness consumer demand for ethical production while creating additional value for growers and retailers alike. 
In January, 2015, the Program’s architect, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), received a Presidential Medal for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking in Persons. 
Just four months earlier, in September, 2014, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored CIW for “defending the human rights of farmworkers across the United States” with the Clinton Global Initiative’s eighth annual Global Citizen Award.7 At the award ceremony, President Clinton singled out the Fair Food Program as “the most astonishing thing politically in the world we’re living in today.” He later added, “You’ve got a success model, and you ought to put the pedal to the metal.” 
In addition to these awards, the CIW and the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) have been invited to speak about the Program in a number of high-profile forums. The CIW spoke at the White House twice during the past year alone, once during the Presidential Medal ceremony and then again at the White House Summit on Worker Voice in October, 2015. The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, after visiting Immokalee in 2013, invited CIW to speak about the Fair Food Program as a unique example of effective, worker-driven remedy to human rights abuses at its Annual Forum in Geneva, Switzerland in November, 2015 (the CIW and FFSC presented at the United Nations Annual Forum in 2013). Also notably, in October, 2015, FFSC executive director Judge Laura Safer Espinoza was invited to provide testimony at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Select Task Force meeting in Los Amgeles on best practices to prevent workplace harassment. Finally, as a part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Initiative, CIW advised on policy changes to eliminate forced labor in EU supply chains by 2020.
CEO/Executive Director Hon. Laura Safer Espinoza
Board Chair Mr. Gerardo Reyes Chavez
Board Chair Affiliation Coalition of Immokalee Workers
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2012
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Dec 2018
State Registration Yes 0
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement

Since its launch its launch in late 2011, the Fair Food Standards Council has made a significant impact for farmworkers and growers.

  • Audits: The FFSC has conducted over 200 site visits to participating growers to ascertain whether they have systems in place that comply with the Fair Food Code of Conduct. Extensive interviews are done with workers and all levels of management. Payroll records are reviewed to insure that workers are receiving proper compensation as well as the Fair Food Program Premium. Following each audit, a report is generated reflecting the company’s level of compliance with the Code, and corrective action plans are negotiated.
  • Hotline: The FFSC has fielded over 1700 worker complaints on its 24-hour toll-free complaint line to insure compliance with the Code. The largest number of complaints involved issues related to wages and pay, but the majority of complaints raised other issues, often involving some form abuse, harassment or discrimination.
  • Complaint Resolution: The FFSC is able to address aberrant conduct that previously was tolerated without consequence. These situations are finally being addressed because workers trust the FFSC and the promise of freedom from retaliation that is an integral part of the Fair Food Program. Workers in general and women in particular now have a real voice in how they are treated on the job.
  • Enforcement: Each participating buyer has signed a legally binding agreement in which they have agreed not only to pay the Fair Food Program Premium to participating growers (to be passed on to the workers in the form of a bonus), but also to shift their tomato purchases to growers who comply with the Code of Conduct and away from those who do not. It is the role of the FFSC to oversee this unique enforcement mechanism.
Needs Statement
  • Four field investigator/monitors (salary): $50,000 each
  • Four laptops for investigator/monitors: $2,000 each
  • One four-wheel-drive truck: $25,000
Background Statement

The high degree of consolidation in the food industry today means that multi-billion dollar brands on the retail end of the industry are able to leverage their volume purchasing power to demand ever-lower prices, which has resulted in downward pressure on farmworker wages. The Fair Food Program reverses that process, enlisting the resources of participating retail food giants to improve farmworker wages and harnessing their demand to reward growers who respect their workers’ rights.


The Fair Food Program provides an opportunity for those corporations to bring their own considerable resources to the table – their funds and market influence – to help forge a structural, sustainable solution to a human rights crisis that has persisted on U.S. soil for far too long. In the process, the Fair Food Program will help build the foundation for a stronger Florida tomato industry that can differentiate its product in produce aisles and restaurants on the basis of a credible claim to social responsibility and so better weather the challenges of an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Under the Fair Food Program, participating growers have:

  • Adopted the Fair Food Code of Conduct as their own;
  • Agreed to a worker education program conducted by the CIW on company premises and company time;
  • Agreed to have compliance with the program independently monitored;
  • Agreed to an independent and verifiable complaint investigation and remediation mechanism in which they participate equally with the CIW and the FFSC;
  • Agreed to pass on the “penny-per-pound” price premium to their workers; and
  • Agreed to implement a system of health and safety volunteers which affords workers regular and structured input into the safety of their work environment.

Participating Buyers in the Fair Food Program include: Ahold USA, Aramark, Bon Appetit, Burger King, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Compass Group, The Fresh Market, McDonald's, Sodexo, Subway, Trader Joe's, Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Yum Brands.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Charlotte
FL- DeSoto
FL- Hardee
FL- Hillsborough
FL- Lee
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments The Fair Food Standards Council monitors and insures compliance with the Fair Food Code of Conduct on tomato farms across the state of Florida. We are particularly active in rural communities in central and south Florida.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy
Secondary Org Type Employment
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
I serve on the Board of Directors of the Fair Food Standards Council, because I am passionately committed to the cause of achieving basic human rights for farmworkers. I have worked as a watermelon and orange harvester for many years, and experienced first hand the abuses that are suffered daily by farmworkers. The Fair Food Program is the best hope that farmworkers in the United States have for improvement in their lives and working conditions.
For the first time, workers do not have to fear for their jobs when making a complaint about working conditions or abuse.  Their rights to have their hours properly recorded, to be paid directly on the growers’ payroll, to be free of forced labor, sexual harassment, physical and verbal abuse and to work in safer conditions are being respected. Health and Safety Committees are being formed so that workers’ voices can be heard in dialogue with management on important issues impacting working conditions. I also know from my own experience what a difference the Fair Food Program Premium makes in workers’ lives.
To have a monitoring organization like the Fair Food Standards Council is critical to the Fair Food Program. Without its eyes and ears, the hard fought guarantees of the Code of Conduct could not be properly enforced.  Having an independent objective organization is critical to achieving and maintaining buy-in from all Fair Food Program partners.  This was a tremendous challenge, due to the various stakeholders involved and their history of conflict and perceived opposing interests.
The Fair Food Standards has achieved tremendous success – uncovering and correcting violations of the Code of Conduct throughout the Florida tomato industry. Guarantees that farmworkers have struggled for, over many decades, are finally becoming reality.
All of the members of the Board of Directors are tremendously proud to be a part of these changes.  Now in its second year, the Fair Food Standards Council has established its credibility and reputation for work that is thorough and accomplished with integrity.  These achievements have been accomplished in the face of limited resources and staffing.
The challenge which remains is to maintain independent, ongoing funding that will allow the Fair Food Standards Council to carry out its work, as objective fact finders and monitors, free of the perception of influence from any stakeholder. Board members are available and more than willing to speak to potential donors on behalf of the Fair Food Standards Council.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

Based in Sarasota, the Fair Food Standards Council is a truly innovative organization, focused on insuring long overdue and dramatic improvements in the lives of the men and women who harvest the food we eat. In an industry where forced labor and other forms of human rights abuse as well as sub-poverty wages have been the norm, it is no exaggeration to say that a new day is dawning, due to the efforts of the Fair Food Program.

In its groundbreaking work, the Fair Food Standards Council monitors and insures compliance with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ hard fought agreements with growers and buyers in Florida’s tomato industry. Those agreements, which cover up to 30,000 workers each season on tomato farms across the state of Florida, include a Fair Food Code of Conduct that guarantees basic human rights for farmworkers, including zero tolerance for forced labor and sexual harassment. The Code also prohibits many other types of physical and verbal abuse, as well as wage theft and health and safety violations.


Another unique aspect of FFSC’s monitoring concerns the Fair Food Program Premium, paid by all participating buyers and received by workers in their regular paychecks, in the form of a bonus. By 2014, over $11 million will have been paid by participating buyers for distribution to workers. In an industry where stagnant wages have been the rule for over thirty years, this bonus often stands between workers’ families and hunger, or lack of adequate medical care.


Unlike other monitoring organizations, the Fair Food Standards Council is solely dedicated to monitoring and enforcement of the Fair Food Program. Our bilingual staff is charged with conducting audits at all participating growers, in announced and unannounced visits, as well as responding to a 24-hour worker complaint hotline. It is our responsibility to investigate and resolve all complaints received, often in collaboration with participating growers. The Fair Food Standards Council generates audit reports and corrective action plans that help participating growers achieve full compliance with the Code of Conduct. Participating buyers then condition their vast tomato purchases on growers’ compliance with the Code.


Due to the vigilant efforts of the Fair Food Standards Council, tremendous strides have been made since our beginning in November of 2011. As workers often tell us, "Because of the Fair Food Program and the work of the Fair Food Standards Council, we are no longer treated like animals, and our rights are being respected."



The Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC) oversees implementation of the Fair Food Program, a unique farmworker- and consumer-driven initiative consisting of a:

  • Wage increase supported by a price premium paid by corporate purchasers of Florida tomatoes;
  • Human-rights-based Code of Conduct, applicable throughout the industry.

The price premium and the Code of Conduct, which were developed by workers, growers, and corporate buyers, form the foundation for a new model of social accountability.

The Fair Food Program emerged from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) successful Campaign for Fair Food, a campaign to affirm the human rights of tomato workers and improve the conditions under which they labor.
The FFSC is based in Sarasota, Florida, and has statewide responsibility for implementing, monitoring, and enforcing the Fair Food Program. The Program expanded to six states up the east coast in the summer of 2015 and continues to grow in bell peppers and strawberries. 
Budget $1,300,000
Category Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Migrant Workers Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Short Term Success In the short term, the Fair Food Program will continue to consolidate its role within the Florida tomato industry via the addition of new participating growers and buyers into the program.
Long Term Success In the long term, by improving wages and working conditions in the agricultural industry, the Fair Food Program will continue to improve life outcomes for tens of thousands of farmworkers and their families. The FFP will also contribute to the sustainability of produce growers by helping them to meet consumer expectations of social responsibility in a rapidly evolving 21st century marketplace.
Program Success Monitoring Program success is monitored through a number of lenses, including data generated by audits and the complaint hotline and financial analyses of the Fair Food Program Premium bonus system for workers.
Program Success Examples
During an audit, a woman stopped working to to share her perspective on the Fair Food Program. Although she had only been at the farm for three weeks, she told an investigator that the general working environment was good, and that she felt respected.
She expressed enthusiastically how glad she was that the Fair Food Standards Council was out in the fields “fighting for [workers’] rights” and wanted to know when the program would be in other crops.
She spoke of her friends who work in strawberries, cucumbers, and peppers, and who daily face harsh conditions, including constant verbal abuse from supervisors. She told a particularly troubling story of how a good friend of hers had recently been working in strawberries or cucumbers when she was shoved onto the ground by a supervisor who wanted the worker to pick faster. The woman's anecdote was a powerful reminder of the importance of the Fair Food Program in the daily lives of tens of thousands of people.

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Hon. Laura Safer Espinoza
CEO Term Start Nov 2011
CEO/Executive Director Email
Experience Laura Safer Espinoza (Director) is a recently retired New York State Acting Supreme Court Justice who served in New York and Bronx Counties for twenty years. She was Bronx County Deputy Supervising Judge for five years. Justice Safer Espinoza helped to design and became the first presiding judge of Bronx Treatment Court, an innovative alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenders. She was a spokesperson for the recently enacted Rockefeller drug law reforms. 

Judge Safer Espinoza has taught and lectured extensively in Latin America, supporting law reform efforts there by training advocates in new, more transparent legal systems. Since 2009, she has designed and directed trainings for thousands of judges and attorneys in Mexico.

Judge Safer Espinoza has also helped to launch and advise treatment courts in Chile and Brazil.

Justice Safer Espinoza has a long history of work with human rights and social justice organizations in the United States and Latin America, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Immigrants Rights, Metropolitan Council on Housing, Legal Services, and several Latin American Human Rights Commissions. 

Justice Safer Espinoza received her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. cum laude from New York Law School.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 15
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 75
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 0
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
We collaborate with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers on the implementation of the Fair Food Program.
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Gerardo Reyes Chavez
Company Affiliation Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Board Term Nov 2011 to Nov 2021
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms. Noelle Damico Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Mr. Steven Hitov Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Mr. Patrick Mason Florida State University
Ms. Cheryl Queen Compas Group USA
Mr. Gerardo Reyes Chavez Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Ms. Nely Rodriguez Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 3
Female 3
Board Term Lengths 5
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 1
Board Meeting Attendance % 83
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 0
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2018
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $1,248,000.00
Projected Expenses $1,575,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$1,021,335$748,507$626,289
Administration Expense$97,653$22,174$9,614
Fundraising Expense$29,870$71,748$48,692
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.051.421.62
Program Expense/Total Expenses89%89%91%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%7%5%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$907,321$909,853$648,942
Current Assets$865,293$850,835$599,420
Long-Term Liabilities$0$200,000$0
Current Liabilities$193,356$55,484$344,654
Total Net Assets$713,965$654,369$304,288
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $1,100,388Contributions, gifts, grants $1,042,474Contributions, gifts, grants $1,082,019
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountBuyer Support Payments $105,000Buyer Support $105,000Audit Service Fees $15,300
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountConsulting Fees $2,555Consulting Fees $29,172Consulting Fees $9,776
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.4815.331.74
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%22%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial information taken from IRS Forms 990-EZ and 990.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.
Nonprofit The Fair Food Standards Council Inc
Address 330 S Pineapple Ave
Suite 201
Sarasota, FL 34236 7032
Phone 941 556-9128