Milk with Dignity Petition
We Want Milk with Dignity!
To: The Middlebury College Dining Services and Office of Finance & Administration,
We, the Middlebury College community, voice our support for an important opportunity to become a leader in the international real food movement. This movement is growing all over the country and throughout the world and benefits farmworkers, farmers, food system workers, and consumers alike. Along with other institutions, Middlebury College plays an important role in the food economy of Vermont purchasing large volumes of food from various sources with student dollars. We feel it is imperative that we leverage our purchasing power to prioritize the procurement of food produced under humane and dignified conditions.
We are calling for new action because we recognize and are concerned about some serious problems right in our backyard that we can help alleviate:
● A recent Migrant Justice survey found many dairy farmworkers’ fundamental rights are being violated. For example, 40% receive less than VT minimum wage; 29% work 7 hours (or more) in a row without a break; 20% have wages illegally withheld; 16% live in overcrowded housing; 15% have insufficient heat; 9% have no clean drinking water; and 9% are verbally abused.
● Dairy farmers work extremely hard to keep their farms and families afloat in a food system where large corporations profit more than family farms thus placing downward pressure on farm income and worker’s wages. We are alarmed that farmer’s median incomes are below Vermont median household income.
We want to support businesses that commit to creating dignified livelihoods for both farmworkers and farmers by joining the Milk with Dignity campaign. Specifically, we call upon Middlebury College to prioritize procurement of dairy products from businesses that commit to:
Comply with farmworker-defined social responsibility and human rights standards
called the "Milk with Dignity" standards;
Support farmers who comply with these standards by providing financial incentive;
Additionally, we would like to call upon the Administration to recognize a new "Milk with Dignity" student committee, which will collaborate with the administration on attaining the above goals and objectives.
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