Back in early May, I was frustrated about the difficulty of finding orange juice that wasn’t picked by slaves. It turns out that most OJ is made from oranges picked by slave labor. By “slave,” I don’t mean “poorly paid person working under poor conditions,” I mean slave. Thus came my revelation that, despite my deep and abiding love for orange juice, I could not consume it further unless I could find OJ that was not produced by slaves. Looks like I found some. I wrote a letter to Organic Valley a couple of weeks ago, asking about their growers’ labor standards. I received a great reply from Organic Valley representative Mary Ann Parr today — it’s way better than the weasely reply that I got from Florida’s Natural. Looks like I’m an Organic Valley OJ guy from here on out.
From: Mary Parr
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 12:59:31 PM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: Labor Standards
Thank you for contacting us.
I have contacted our orange farmers to find out what their practices were concerning labor practices. I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but I wanted to be sure. Our groves hire pickers that are mostly locals. Most of these workers have lived in the area for over 10 years. They do NOT bus migrants in. They do not provide housing since they are long term locals. Our orchards are family owned and consist of 14 growers and have been in business for over 60 years. This is why this group of farmers/growers appealed to Organic Valley.
Mary Ann Parr
Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative
1-888-444-6455 ext 368