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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

FL Farmworkers Focus Of New Documentary 'Food Chains'

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Food Chains
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A new documentary takes a look what some consider to be one of the most exploited groups of workers: Florida farm pickers.

Food Chains examines the tangled roots of America’s food supply - looking at the relationship between major food retailers at the top like Publix and Walmart, and the produce pickers at the bottom. 

These laborers are often paid just one penny per pound of food that they pull from the fields.

In particular, the film follows Florida’s Coalition of Immokalee Workers, who have been been working as part of the Fair Food program - a partnership of farm workers, growers and nearly a dozen large food corporations, including McDonald’s, Walmart and Whole Foods. Their goal is to create safer working conditions in the state’s farm fields, and for the pickers to be paid an extra penny per pound.

The film was produced by Eva Longoria and narrated by Forest Whitaker.

Food Chains producer Smriti Keshar and Coalition of Immokalee Workers member Geraldo Reyes joined Melissa Ross to discuss the conditions these workers face.

The film is critical of Florida-based grocery chain Publix, which decided against participating in the Fair Food initiative. This led to protests by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers at Publix's corporate offices earlier this year.

Publix said it refuses to be drawn into a labor dispute between the Florida farmers who grow the produce and the farm workers they employ to harvest it.

Food Chains will be released to theaters this week.

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax.