Since launching in April 2019, the Stronger Together US program has focused on stakeholder engagement with the aim to raise awareness and build demand for responsible recruitment in the US fresh produce sector. As part of this, the program has developed a stakeholder network for sharing challenges and best practices across the industry. We have been working with and engaging with relevant and varied actors to deepen our understanding of the diverse perspectives across the industry.
To gain knowledge from each other and to better inform the program, we have:
- Undertaken a mapping and engagement strategy with over 100 stakeholders in the U.S. fresh produce sector and in Florida and California. Stakeholders include businesses from across the labor and produce supply chain, industry organizations, academics, and civil society (NGO) organizations with a focus/interest in responsible recruitment and/or those providing services to migrant workers.
- Launched a Stakeholder Forum, with two caucuses (private sector and civil society), which acts as an engagement pathway into the program and serves as a common resource and clearinghouse for issues, events, and activities, supporting responsible recruitment interest, culture and needs. Six Forum conference calls have taken place and we continue to welcome new members to the group; please see the Terms of Reference available here.
- Hosted the industry’s first multi-stakeholder Responsible Recruitment Round Table event on September 27 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Attended by over 45 stakeholders, including retailers, growers, government agencies, standards systems. and civil society. Following the keynote and a plenary panel of growers and a legal services NGO, participants explored key questions on responsible recruitment – where we are now and key ideas of what to do in the future. At the end of the day, participants reported on their discussions and voted on the top ten ideas or themes that emerged from the sessions. A report from the event is available here.
- Participated and presented at two conferences focused on direct employers and Farm Labor Contractors (FLCs) in California in November and in Nevada in December. We gathered input and perspectives on the topic of responsible recruitment from employers and other attendees.
A key take-away from these discussions is that most stakeholders agree that responsible recruitment happens when everyone is willing to prioritize it. While there is no consensus yet on what role each group should play, most participants are enthusiastic about the idea of collaborative action and the development of an industry-wide framework.
Thank you to all those who have participated and joined us at the table; we look forward to working with you and engaging with more stakeholders as the program continues.
In addition to the documents linked above, an Interim Program Update is also available which summarizes the achievements, milestones, and next steps across the three core program strategies to date.
For more information, questions or to get involved, please send an email to [email protected].
Categorised in: United States