Creating spaces for members to learn from each other’s organizing and build solidarity across the food chain is a key area of FCWA work.
This year, 75 FCWA members gathered in Cincinnati for our 2018 Worker Leaders Summit. The summit featured a day-long workshop on addressing gender-based violence and a movement-building session to map our shared work over the coming year. Members also broke out into workshops on addressing racial discrimination at work, building rapid response networks, and an organizing skillshare — all workshops developed by the FCWA’s Growth and Learning Committee.
Next year’s summit takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico from May 22-25 and will overlap with the HEAL Food Alliance summit.
FCWA’s regional Justice in the Food Chain trainings are also an important space for members to map connections across the food system and build skills for developing and winning strategic campaigns. We’re thrilled to be developing a train-the-trainer component to these trainings to support members sharing resources and activities with their co-members and co-workers back home. A full trainer’s manual based on our Justice in the Food Chain training will be ready in the new year!
Members gathered for three regional trainings in 2018. In April, the Farmworkers Association of Florida hosted us in their Homestead office for the Southern regional training. Members from the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, OUR Walmart, and Farmworker Association of Florida shared experiences and strategies, and saw first-hand FWAF’s amazing community gardens and agro-ecology work.
In August, Community 2 Community and Familias Unidas por la Justicia hosted a North West food worker convening with members and allies, coinciding with their March for Dignity. FCWA supported Gabriel Allahdua, a worker leader from Justice for Migrant Workers in Canada, to attend both events, and we led our Mapping the Food Chain’s Connections module at the convening.
And finally, worker leaders and organizers from 6 member and ally organizations, including ROC Chicago (Restaurant Opportunities Center), Asociación de Vendedores Ambulantes (AVA – Street Vendors Association of Chicago), Justicia for Migrant Workers, and our hosts Warehouse Workers For Justice and FCWA allies Centro de Trabajadores Unidos and Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights (CCWR) gathered in October for our Midwest regional training in Chicago. Gabriel from Justicia for Migrant Workers co-facilitated part of that training, and other participants are excited to take on facilitator roles in 2019 trainings, as well as in a new 2.0 training coming very soon!
“It is so important to get to know our brothers and sisters, their way of thinking, and what they are doing,” said Fernando Huerta who participated in the Midwest training on behalf of AVA and CCWR. “We’re in the struggle together.”
The Growth and Learning Committee also launched a new Member Exchange Fund this year. The fund is a tool to facilitate member-to-member learning and sharing in person. Its goal is to support members to learn informally on-the-ground about each others campaigns and to share organizing strategies and lessons learned.
If you are interested in getting copies of Justice in the Food Chain training modules, attending a regional training (the East Coast is the next one coming up in the spring!), or getting involved in the Growth and Learning Committee, contact Sonia at email@example.com.