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Posts Tagged ‘The Family Garden’

Taste the Fairness in North Central Florida’s Watermelons

It is as hot as it gets in North Central Florida.

While most farmers are done with their season, their fields planted with cover crops, and most farmworkers have gone north for the summer farm season, Jordan Brown is picking watermelon alongside his workers.

It is no easy task getting them to the cooler and ready for grocery store shelves and CSA boxes, each watermelon ranging from 15 to 17 pounds. But at the end of the picking row, refreshing watermelon awaits and everyone can enjoy the fruits of their labor together – farmer and farmworker side-by-side.

FJC_Farm_1footby1foot (2)What is more meaningful to Farmer Brown is knowing that everyone working in the field is treated with respect and paid a living wage. Something that is rare in most American fields where deplorable working conditions continue and family farmers, trying to uphold principles of stewardship for land and people, are experiencing the increasing consolidation of power and market share in the hands of a few corporate food businesses. To Brown, the purpose of farming sustainably was not only to ensure that environmental stewardship is met, but that human decency is upheld to the highest degree.

Jordan Brown has been farming for eight years on his 25-acre farmland in Bell. His farm, The Family Garden, has staked their commitment to social justice by meeting the gold standards for domestic fair trade through Food Justice Certification (FJC).

Jordan’s produce is 100% Organic and 100% Food Justice Certified through third party verification programs.

When purchasing FJC products you can support a healthy food system that includes:

  • Rigorous standards for respectful treatment of farm employees
  • Fair pricing for farmers
  • Fair and equitable contracts for farmers and buyers
  • Clear conflict resolution policies for all throughout the food chain
  • A ban on full-time child labor together with full protection for children on farms
  • Living wages for employees
  • Safe working conditions
  • Commitment to continual improvement
  • Environmental stewardship through organic certification

Visit Ward’s Supermarket or Citizens Co-op in Gainesville to buy The Family Garden watermelons this season!

The Family Garden also sells to Global Organics who distribute fresh produce to the greater southeast region, Fresh 24 Market in Orlando, Homegrown Organics serving Gainesville and Ocala areas and Local Fare Farm Bag North serving the greater Jacksonville area.

You can also support fairness in the food system by visiting your local restaurants and requesting dishes made with Food Justice Certified ingredients! In Gainesville, that includes: The Top and Civilization restaurants.

The Agricultural Justice Project aims to bridge the gap between environmental stewardship of the land to include stewardship of the people who work the land and bring the food to our tables.

Food Justice Certified is unique as it is the only third party verification program to cover U.S. farmworkers and farmers, as well as other food system workers working in distribution centers, grocers, manufacturing – all links of the supply chain from farm to table. Standards and the verification process for the Food Justice Certified label were stakeholder developed and included farmers and farmworker representatives in a consensus-style governance structure. It is also uniquely a collaborative program that recognizes that improving conditions for farmworkers in the U.S. needs to include improving the terms farmers receive in selling goods.

For further information about the Agricultural Justice Project or Food Justice Certification, visit

Farmer Friday: Food Justice and The Family Garden

Do you believe in dignity, respect and human rights? This Farmer Friday, we will chat about food justice in the farm system. 

Each Friday in November and December, we are excited to bring you stories of what Florida Organic Growers (FOG) has accomplished in the organic and farming industry and how its impacted farmers, consumers and the community while spotlighting farmers in Florida who have benefitted from our work.

We encourage you to join us as a member to allow us to continue this invaluable work.

Food Justice: Fair treatment for all who labor in the food and farm system

Buying organic is important not just for your personal health and the health of the land, but also for the health of those who work in the fields growing that food.  However, there are other challenges in our food system when you start looking through a social justice lens.

Did you know farmworkers are exempt from some of the labor laws that protect almost all other workers in the United States (e.g., such as right to overtime pay and right to organize)?

Farm work is consistently one of the top three most dangerous jobs in the United States and also one of the lowest paid jobs, with an average annual income of between $12,500 and $15,000 for an individual and $17,500 and $20,000 for a family.*

These statistics are shocking yet very real.

photo3In 1999, recognizing that the U.S. National Organic Program’s standards did not address the people involved in organic agriculture, FOG Executive Director Marty Mesh collaborated with other nonprofits working to create equity and fairness in our food system to begin a stakeholder process to develop standards for the fair and just treatment of the people involved in organic and sustainable agriculture. The group called the effort the Agricultural Justice Project(AJP).

AJP seeks to set the bar high for social justice in the food system and transform the dominant food system that has failed its farmers and workers into one where human rights and dignity are valued and rewarded, right alongside protection of natural resources.

AJP created a domestic fair trade food label, called Food Justice Certified, which is backed and governed by food system stakeholders. Food Justice Certification is unique in the high level of integrity set by the comprehensive standards, the non-proprietary approach, and the inclusion of farm worker organizations in the inspections.

The Family Garden, a 25-acre Certified Organic farm located in Bell, was the first farm in the south to apply for the Food Justice Certified label. BrownFamily_cropped

“I want to grow food as respectfully and honorably as I can,” said Jordan Brown, owner of The Family Garden. “I have experienced positive feedback from many of our customers and others in the community in regards to our Food Justice Certified label. The positive feedback has helped us establish more loyal customers.”

“I am glad there are organizations working together to create a certification, to have a third party come in and verify what the farms are saying and create a level of accountability.”

To further advocate for farmworker rights, FOG, along with AJP and Little Bean Productions, created Hungry for Justice: Spotlight on the South, a social justice film that tells the story of The Family Garden and their commitment to focus on social justice issues for their workers by seeking Food Justice Certified label.

FOG’s passion is to advocate for farmer and farmworker rights, dignity and respect for the environment. 

                                                            Please join us as we continue our fight for all who labor in the food and farm system and become a FOG member today!

*NAWS 2007-2009 data published by National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc.