Milk With Dignity
This summer, Shefa, the Abundance Farm Teen Summer Program, spent time exploring the intersection between farming, spirituality, and activism.
We learned about Migrant Justice, a farmworker led organization up in Vermont fighting for human rights in the Ben and Jerry's dairy farm supply chain. As ice cream loving teenagers spending the summer working on a Jewish community farm, we felt compelled to reach out and ask how we could act in solidarity.
They suggested that we educate ourselves further about the movement and the struggle, and also that we write a letter and build some awareness on social media about their actions.
So that is what we are doing! Thank you for reading our letter and please consider voicing your support by going to an action, making a donation, or learning more about farmworker led social movements!
"Dear Ice Cream Lovers of CBI,
These days a cone of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream isn’t so sweet…
We are Shefa, the Teens of Abundance Farm, and we are writing to ask for your support of Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity campaign.
Migrant Justice is a farmworker lead movement based in Vermont, organizing for economic justice and human rights. They have called on Ben and Jerry’s to sign onto a Code of Conduct that would ensure that all farmworkers in the Ben and Jerry’s supply chain would secure fundamental human rights. Ben and Jerry’s agreed to sign onto this commitment two years ago, but has yet to act on and operationalize the agreement.
Abundance Farm is based around Jewish values for worker treatment, values that we have learned about this summer. Jewish tradition and text tells us, “Do not oppress the hired laborer...whether they are one of your people or one of the sojourners in your land.” In the current political climate, it is more important than ever to uphold the rights of all workers, no matter their immigration status.
Another Jewish teaching says, “Be careful not to afflict a living creature, and even more so not to afflict a human being.” We admire Ben and Jerry’s for their leadership in animal rights advocacy and sourcing their ingredients from fair trade and non-GMO sources, but now it is time from them to step up and support the workers in their supply chain. We have been learning about the unacceptable housing and working conditions of the workers affiliated with Migrant Justice, such as sewage leaching into the water supply and lack of heat during the harsh Vermont winters. We are demanding that Ben and Jerry’s address the human rights issues in your supply chain.
We are calling on Ben and Jerry’s to continue to uphold the values the company was founded on- ethics that customers, such as us, love. Without their implementation of the Milk with Dignity program, we have no choice but to take our business elsewhere. We ask you to join us.
This September, Migrant Justice is organizing a “Human Rights Cannot Wait” tour with a stop in the Pioneer Valley in mid-September, and a National Day of Action on September 25th. Learn more about Migrant Justice and the Milk with Dignity Campaign and make a donation to support the tour!
The Teens of Abundance Farm
Update, October 2017:
As of October 2017, the Milk With Dignity campaign was successful! The agreement signed by Migrant Justice farmworkers and the CEO of Ben & Jerry's takes important steps towards improving working conditions and offering fair treatment and economic relief to workers in the dairy industry, specifically those along the Ben & Jerry's supply chain.
You can read more about the agreement and its implications here: