North American Produce Corridor (NAC)
Philanthropic investment examples
- Fair Trade USA (FT USA): Fair Trade USA helps support safe and healthy conditions, fair prices and wages on certified farms. A $1.4 million grant from the Walmart Foundation in 2020 focusing on producers of berries, tomatoes and coffee in the North American corridor seeks to further strengthen systems supporting producers. This work aims to maximize the impact and transparency of Fair Trade USA’s premium programs, improving support for farmers and workers.
- Florida International University (FIU): FIU’s agro-ecology program integrates science-based education, research and outreach focusing on the interface of agriculture, natural ecosystems and urban development. Given the urgent climate and social risks faced by Florida agriculture, a $437,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation in 2018 has supported FIU’s research into tomato and strawberry supply chains to better understand these risks and to develop a blueprint for the sector that can be scaled successfully at a regional level.
- Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and its partners CIEASAS and Migration Dialogue collect and analyze reliable data on Mexican produce farms with the goal of improving protections for farmworkers. In 2017, a Walmart Foundation grant supported surveys of 2,800 workers and found that women and indigenous migrants faced specific risks. In 2019, the Walmart Foundation contributed a second grant that supported surveys of workers employed on farms that export tomatoes and vegetables to the U.S. The survey identified a “shadow” labor market where farms producing for both the domestic and export market were often hiring indigenous workers who received lower wages and were not covered by state work-related benefits. In 2020, Walmart contributed a $1.495 million grant to expand awareness about the conditions of Mexican farmworkers in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., including women and indigenous workers. This grant will also help analyze labor violation data to improve enforcement and provide data and analysis for a framework that will help strengthen the detection and remedy of human rights violations in North American agriculture.
- Equitable Food Initiative (EFI): EFI is a nonprofit workforce development and certification organization that seeks to improve the lives of farmworkers and to transform the produce industry in the Americas. In 2019, the Walmart Foundation contributed a $1.2 million grant to EFI to strengthen responsible labor practices in fresh produce farms in Mexico through workforce development and certifications. The grant also helps increase responsible recruitment capacity development for public, private and civil society actors and promotes collaboration with other key stakeholders. Through the grant, EFI updated their standards to include an industry commitment around labor practices in produce supply chains and piloted a program to strengthen growers’ management systems.
- Stronger Together: Following an initial $872,000 investment from the Walmart Foundation in 2019, Stronger Together launched a new series of online webinars aimed at enhancing U.S. produce suppliers’ understanding of recruitment risks for H-2A workers and strengthening management and communications with employees. Their multi-stakeholder program seeks to motivate the U.S. fresh produce sector to recognize and reward responsible recruitment, increasing the supply of ethically sourced labor and reducing risks for workers and businesses.
- Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW): CIW is dedicated to advancing social responsibility and addressing human trafficking and gender-based violence on farms. CIW initially focused on improving worker dignity in the Florida tomato supply chain through worker education, third-party monitoring by the Fair Food Standards Council, and a fair food premium funded by participating buyers and paid to workers as a line-item bonus on their regular paychecks. In 2018, a $458,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation is helping CIW scale its operations and impact to additional crops and sectors across the United States.
- Polaris: Polaris works to tackle human trafficking and end modern slavery. They have built a North American Safety Net that connects national anti-trafficking hotlines in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Funding from the Walmart Foundation supported Polaris’s implementation of Nonechka, a mobile multilingual tech tool to engage Mexican agricultural migrant workers and strengthen their knowledge around potential exploitation. Funding also supported collaboration and sharing of best practices between victim services hotlines in Mexico and the U.S. The grant resulted in more than 360 labor trafficking and exploitation cases being referred for action by the appropriate authorities between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020.
- Avina Americas: Avina Americas seeks to establish and leverage alliances and collaborative networks across Latin America to support sustainable development and promote human dignity and environmental sustainability. In 2020, a $1.2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation is seeking to help Avina Americas build the capacity of civil society organizations supporting agricultural migrant workers moving between Mexico and the United States, providing workers with training on their rights and how to exercise them throughout their recruitment and employment. The funding also aims to develop policy recommendations around labor rights through collaboration with sector stakeholders and engage agriculture suppliers to adopt responsible recruitment practices.
- CIERTO: In 2020, the Walmart Foundation made an investment in CIERTO, a non-profit international Farm Labor Contractor, to build capacity around the responsible recruitment of H-2A migrant workers through the Mexico/U.S. corridor to U.S. farms and to support implementation of the “Employer Pays Principle” under which the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer.