What We Do

The Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) works to transform the existing agricultural system. We seek empowerment, justice and fairness for all who labor from farm to retail. Central to our mission are the principles that all humans deserve respect, the freedom to live with dignity and nurture community, and share responsibility for preserving the earth’s resources for future generations.

Consolidation of power; an economy driven by profit; structural racism that has enabled consolidation of that profit and power in the hands of few via a foundation of strategic exploitation of black, brown, immigrant and native peoples; lack of transparency; and the spread of a cultural of divisiveness are among the root causes of the severe injustices in our food system. These give rise to the advantage of some people over others and invite corruption, while silencing many voices. People are pitted against people, sector against sector. Essential values are discredited and true costs externalized as we ignore the interconnectedness of whole systems. Working people who have the power to change the system remain disunited and in the dark. The very same mechanisms that have led to the need for food justice have given rise as well to the need for racial and environmental justice. The negative impacts of climate change, failure to recycle society’s wastes, and infrastructure deterioration fall most heavily on low income neighborhoods and communities of color while threatening the present and future health of all living beings. By focusing on the need for fair trading in farm products and fair treatment of food workers rooted in empowerment of those most marginalized by the current food system, AJP contributes to shifting the dominant system towards greater fairness and equity. We believe that taking care of and engaging and empowering all people is a necessary precondition for the regeneration of a viable biosphere worth sustaining. Farms and food businesses that function as cohesive, integrated, aware social organisms have a special role to play in ensuring the health of humans, cultures, animals, and our planet. Our work spans the U.S. and Canada in the following main focus areas:

Providing Certification and Technical Assistance Tools to Transform the Food System.

We provide farms and food businesses with technical tools to improve work and trade practices from farm to retail, including extensive toolkits and templates, one-on-one technical assistance, and a stakeholder-driven certification program for high bar social justice standards -- Food Justice Certification (FJC), the gold standard for labor and trade practices in North America. We support and partner with third-party certifiers and worker organizations that carry out the certification and inspection process for the FJC program. Food Justice Certified products can be found on grocery store shelves, farmers markets, CSAs and roadside stands. We maintain a Social Justice Fund, through which five percent of all grants received are set aside, and a portion is used to subsidize certification fees through our cost share program for small family farms and independent retailers and cooperatives that have excellent labor practices, but are experiencing economic hardship.

Raising Awareness of the Need for Transforming the Food System and Models that Can Accomplish Change.

We engage in outreach and education to raise awareness of the disparities and injustice in the food system and the types of approaches needed to realize real change for those marginalized by the current system. Our awareness-raising work is done through social and public media, events and presentations, networking and partnering, contributing comments on other fair market claim programs and associations, providing tools for improving working and trade practices, and promoting the Food Justice Certified (FJC) label in the marketplace. The FJC label helps launch conversations about why such a label is needed and what it means, the existence of inequities and injustice in the food system, the need to address them, and actions that can be taken.

Domestic Fair Trade

Building a Domestic Fair Trade Movement

The members of the Agricultural Justice Project are part of a much larger network of organizations working to build a national movement for domestic fair trade.

Many people today are familiar with International Fair Trade, as it applies to the import of items such as coffee, tea, and cocoa. However, as the movement has grown it has become apparent that many of the challenges facing farmers in developing countries, are facing family farmers and workers here in North America. Big agribusiness continues to thrive while small farms and retailers have gone out of business. Consumers pay more, while farmers and workers receive less. Farmworkers are denied fair wages and basic rights.

This video by the Fair Food Project highlights some of the amazing organizations working to build awareness and change the way our food system works.

We are proud associate members of the Domestic Fair Trade Association (DFTA). To be a resource for both the public and the broader movement in assessing marketplace claims for social justice or fairness, the DFTA developed criteria and reviews fair trade programs. To learn more about the labels you're buying visit the DFTA website today.

DFTA Works to:

  • Raise awareness of domestic fair trade issues
  • Promote legitimate fair trade and social justice programs
  • Support businesses that practice fair trade
  • Improve conditions and outcomes for farmers and workers

Agricultural Justice Project

PO Box 5786

Gainesville, FL 32627-5786

(919) 809-7332


Signup for AJP’s Newsletter

Complaints and Conflict Resolution

AJP is committed to managing the Food Justice Certified program in a fair and transparent manner. We appreciate feedback, and have developed a system to receive and respond to concerns.

To read our Complaints, Conflict Resolution and Appeals Process language in-depth, please click here to download this section from our Policy Manual.

Summary of the Process:

We handle complaints through one process, and conflict resolution and appeals through another process.

Complaints: Concerns raised by anyone about the integrity of Food Justice Certified (FJC) labeled products or entities, the FJC certification process, FJC standards, the behavior or actions of Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) representatives, and/or AJP policies. An example of a complaint would be a complaint of unprofessional behavior on the part of an AJP representative in their capacity as accreditor, standards maintenance, or technical assistance. A customer could also make a complaint, for example, raising questions about whether an FJC product comes from a farm or business that truly adheres to the FJC standards.

Conflict resolution: We are using this term for internal issues between parties that are directly involved in FJC farms and businesses. All grievances reported between parties within the certified supply chain will be treated as internal and subject to conflict resolution. FJC standards require that every certified farm or business must have a conflict resolution procedure outlined for the workplace or farmer/buyer or business-to-business contracts. Examples of an internal conflict resolution would be: a worker’s claim of the employer’s failure to comply with FJC standards, or a farmer’s claim of a buyer’s failure to comply with FJC standards.

Appeals: If either the subject of a complaint or the person submitting a complaint is unsatisfied with the outcome, an appeal can be made to the FJC Board together with the Advisory Council.

Send complaints to:

Agricultural Justice Project

P.O. Box 510

4 Delsea Drive South

Glassboro NJ, 08028

Phone: 856-881-2507

Fax: 856-881-2027, ATTN: AJP Complaints

Email: info@agriculturaljusticeproject.org

The person writing or submitting the complaint should explain their relationship to the project or the individuals mentioned in the complaint.

Exceptions will be made for those who cannot be reasonably expected to submit a complaint in writing. This could include illiteracy or low levels of literacy, language barriers, or cultural reasons. In those cases AJP will work with its partners to ensure that complaints are documented in a complete manner, translated if necessary, and handled on an equal basis with written complaints.

Steps in the Complaints Process

1. Investigator assigned to assess validity and scope of complaint.
2. Investigator gathers preliminary information to determine validity and scope of complaint and communicates finding to complainant and, if AJP representatives or personnel are involved, to them.
3. If investigator declares complaint is not relevant for further investigation, complainant can appeal within 3 weeks.
4. If found to be relevant for further investigation, investigator gathers additional information to formulate recommendations and submits findings and recommendation to AJP Board.
5. AJP Board reviews findings and recommendations and decides by consensus whether to endorse recommendations or request further investigation. AJP Board informs all relevant parties of this decision.
6. Subject or complainant has the right to appeal.
7. AJP files records.
8. AJP assesses if a change in the quality system is needed and if so, change will be made and posted to website and sent out to clients.


AJP is stakeholder-driven, and committed to the principles of democratic leadership. We consider our stakeholders those who work in and are impacted by the food and agricultural system who shoulder too many of the burdens and enjoy too few of the benefits of how our food and agricultural system works.

Our Stakeholders

The size and membership of the Advisory Council and Standards Committee are determined based on principles of equal representation. AJP has identified key stakeholder groups: Farmers, Workers (food system workers and farmworkers), Retailers, Food Businesses (manufacturers, processors or brand holders), and Indigenous Communities or expertise in a field related to AJP work. The Council and Committee are established with an equal number of representatives from each stakeholder group to the extent possible. Representatives from additional groups, such as civil-society NGOs or certifiers, are also welcome to join. Contact us for more information on becoming a member.

The label is governed by three collaborative committees made up of representatives from different food system stakeholder groups:

                    • Advisory Council Members
                    • Standards Committee Members
                    • Board of Directors

See our comprehensive list of all food system stakeholders that have had decision-making responsibilities regarding AJP's work, strategies, and standards by serving on our governance bodies since AJP's inception.

You can read about our governance process in section 7.0 of our Policy Manual. Our bylaws are available upon request to info@agriculturaljusticeproject.org.

Advisory Council Members

The AJP Advisory Council is active year-round and offers guidance to the Board of Directors and AJP Staff on standards interpretation, policy development, and many other issues. The AC meets by conference call to consider any program or standards changes proposed by the Board and Staff. Members must be able to contribute time to carefully consider revisions and guide the program in annual meetings and in urgent revisions scenarios. The Advisory Council is composed of food system stakeholders and stakeholder advocates, as well as individuals with expertise useful in our work for a just food system.

  1. Denise Aguero, Independent Organic and FJC Inspector, FL; Eater and certification stakeholder.
  2. Becca Berkey, Northeastern University, MA; Eater and farm labor justice researcher stakeholder.
  3. Ernesto Bustos, former Executive Director, Centro Campesino, MN; Famworker advocate.
  4. Jim Cochran, Swanton Berry Farm, CA; Farmer stakeholder.
  5. Rosalinda Guillen, Executive Director, Community to Community Development, WA; a women of color led organization that works to empower under-represented people to bring justice to our food, land and cultural practices and promote community relationships towards self-reliance and human rights for all.
  6. Jennifer Taylor, Lola's Organic Farm, GA, BIPOC farmer stakeholder.
  7. Joy Miller, Keewaydin Farms, WI; farmer stakeholder.
  8. Keith Talbot, Workers Legal Rights Project, NJ; Worker advocate.
  9. Kathy Peters, Abundance Cooperative Market, NY; retail food co-operative and retail employee stakeholder.
  10. Sonia Singh, Food Chain Workers Alliance; a coalition of worker-based organizations that advocates for the following stakeholders groups: food chain workers, immigrant workers, women workers, workers of color.
  11. Nezahualcoyotl Xiuhtecutli, Farmworkers Association of Florida, FL; represents farmworker stakeholders.
  12. Nancy Vail, Pie Ranch, CA; farmer stakeholder.
  13. Gail Wadsworth, former Executive Director of the California Institute of Rural Studies, representing marginalized rural residents of California; farmers and farmworkers. Low wage workers in the food chain.

Standards Committee Members

The Standards Committee is convened formally every 5 years for the FJC standards revision process. Committee members are invited to participate based on expertise or experience in a particular area of the food system the AJP standards cover. Members may be called upon on occasion in between 5-year revisions to address urgent standards revision issues.

Current Standards Committee Members for the 2015-2016 Revision Process:

  1. Jim Cochran, Swanton Berry Farm, CA; Farmer stakeholder.
  2. Jessica Culley, Farmworker Support Committee (CATA), NJ, a migrant-farmworker founded, membership-based organization; Farmworker advocate.
  3. Rosalinda Guillen, Community to Community, WA; a women of color led organization that works to empower under-represented people to bring justice to our food, land and cultural practices and promote community relationships towards self-reliance and human rights for all.
  4. Marion McBride, Canada; Brand and Canadian organic grower stakeholder.
  5. Joy Miller, Keewaydin Farms, WI; farmer stakeholder.
  6. Tirso Moreno, formerly with the Farmworkers Association of Florida, FL; Farmworker stakeholder and advocate.
  7. Kathy Peters, Abundance Cooperative Market, NY; retail food co-operative and retail employee stakeholder.
  8. Nancy Vail, Pie Ranch, CA; farmer stakeholder.

Board of Directors

AJP is governed by a Board of Directors, a collaboration of non-profits working to create equity and fairness in our food system. These non-profits include El Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas/The Farmworker Support Committee (CATA), Northeast Organic Farming Association, and Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). The board can also be comprised of advisor members. All decisions are made via consensus with a quorum that dictates that at least one farmworker representative and one farmer representative be present in addition to a simple majority of the board.

1. Elizabeth Henderson, Co-founder of AJP, retired farmer and serves as representative of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

2. Jessica Culley, farmworker representative and advocate and serves representative of the Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas / Farmworker Support Committee (CATA)

3. Margaret Krome-Lukens, representative of the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA).

4. Cali Alexander, alternate representative of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

Elizabeth Henderson

Retired Farmer & Representative of the Northeast Organic Farming Association

Elizabeth Henderson farmed at Peacework Farm in Wayne County, New York, producing organically grown vegetables for the fresh market for over 30 years. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY), co-chairs the Policy Committee, and represents the NOFA Interstate Council on the Board of the Agricultural Justice Project. For 20 years, from 1993 – 2013, she chaired the Agricultural Development Board in Wayne County and took an active role in creating the Farming and Farmland Protection Plan for the county. In 2001, the organic industry honored her with one of the first “Spirit of Organic awards, in 2007, Abundance Co-op honored her with the “Cooperating for Communities” award and in 2009 NOFA-NY honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award and then a Golden Carrot in 2013. In 2014 Eco-Farm presented her with their “Advocate of Social Justice Award, the Justie.” Her writings on organic agriculture appear in The Natural Farmer and other publications, and she is the lead author ofSharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 2007). She also wrote A Food Book for a Sustainable Harvest for the members of Peacework Organic Community Supported Agriculture (aka GVOCSA) in its twenty sixth year in 2014.

Jessica Culley

Farmworker Advocate, Representative of Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas / Farmworker Support Committee (CATA)

Jessica Culley has been working with the grassroots community organizing of CATA – The Farmworkers’ Support Committee over the past 17 years in a variety of roles from Community Organizer to Program Coordinator and now to General Coordinator. She loves the work with CATA because of the real base building work done outreaching to farmworker and low wage immigrant workers in the Mid-Atlantic region where CATA organizes and bringing the voices, experiences and leadership of our members to national and international work addressing the injustices of the food system.

Margaret Krome-Lukens

Representative of the Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA (RAFI)

Margaret is the Come to the Table Senior Program Manager for the Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA (RAFI), whose responsibilities include work on RAFI’s Come to the Table Conference, planning and hosting trainings and workshops, and working on CTTT publications. Prior to joining RAFI-USA, she worked as a farm hand and manager on farms in the Triangle, and most recently, ran the SNAP/EBT program at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. She holds a B.A. in International Studies from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Margaret is an impulse-buyer of flowering plants, Aikido nerd, mama to one of the world’s exceptional dogs, and a nap enthusiast.

Cali Alexander

Alternate Representing the Northeast Organic Farming Association

Cali Alexander recently transitioned after completing a 35 year career in environmental science and law as a Public Health Administrator. As a licensed Health Director, Cali managed and delivered years of public services and programs at the local level. Her experience includes extensive land use review and environmental law, as well as retail food inspection and regulation. She served as an administrator for the New Jersey Department of Health licensing all aspects of the wholesale pharmaceutical industry, as well as overseeing the licensing and operational compliance of the wholesale seafood and shellfish industry. In 2014, Cali received a Governor’s appointment to the NJ Board of Pharmacy. While serving on a multi-agency committee at the state, her work was instrumental on policy, outreach and education involving and establishing fish consumption advisories in urban estuaries, and environmental justice. Environmentally passionate and inspirational, she has been raising goats and gardening organically for 20 years. Cali is a Agricultural Justice Project Certified Inspector. She also actively volunteers for Local Share,based in Blairstown, NJ, picking up,gleaning fields and delivering to food banks.

Press, Sign-On Letters, & Newsletter Archives

The Natural Farmer, Summer 2021, Unto Thyself Be True – A Whole Life Approach to Resilience at Rock Steady Farm

The Independent Alligator, May 21, 2021, UF Students and Gainesville Activists Denied Opportunity to Change the University’s Food System

okayplayer, May 12, 2021, Black Students all Around the Country are Pushing to remove the presence of prison labor exploitation at their respective universities

WUFT (NPR/PBS), April 23, 2021, On Earth Day, Student Activists Urge Action On A Host Environmental Issues Facing Floridians

Woodbridge Town News, April 22, 2021, Work and Play at Massaro Farm this Summer

The Gainesville Sun, April 21, 2021, Protest for Food Service Workers and Others in Food Service Chain

ABC WCJB 20, April 21, 2021,University of Florida Students to Occupy Reitz Union until Food Service Demands are Met

The Gainesville Sun, April 21, 2021, Protesters Occupy UF Reitz Union and Demand Food Justice

Inside Higher Ed, March 31, 2021, Colleges Break from Corporate Dining Services

Florida Political Review, March 16 ,2021, Students Boycott UF Reitz Food Court and Aramark

The Gainesville Sun, March 12, 2021, UF Food Contract Should Require Fair Wages, Working Conditions - opinion

Food Tank, March, 2021, 15 Organizations Supporting Farm and Food Workers

The Gainesville Sun, February 28, 2021, With New Food Contract on the Line for Vendors, Pressure Mounts for UF Administrators

The Wire, February 21, 2021, 'Happened in US 40 Years Ago': 87 US Farmers' Unions Speak Out for Indian Farmers' Protest

CBS4News, February 15, 2021, Students Protest University of Florida's Contract with Aramark

The Independent Alligator, January 22, 2021, UF Students Announce Boycott Against Aramark

Food Justice League National and Local Organizations and Leaders Sign on Letter Targeting the University of Florida, February 22, 2021

*AJP is a member of the Food Justice League coalition

HerCampus at UFL, February 9, 2021, Boycott the Reitz!”: A Human Rights Movement

Salon, January 5, 2021, Tips for Sustainable Grocery Shopping

"When you are shopping consciously, certain words on packaging might seem more wholesome than they actually are. 'Don't just close your eyes and swallow,' writes Bratskeir. '... start following certifications that you trust.'...Instead, it's recommended shoppers seek out trusted certifications that guarantee foods have been produced in a way that is fair to the planet, animals and workers...If you're interested in worker welfare, look for Food Justice Certified or the Fair Food Program."

The National Co+op Grocers, December 2020, NCG Promotes Equitable Food System through Funds, Time and Advocacy

Food Tank, December 2020, 121 Food Organizations to Watch in 2021

The Washington Post, December 30, 2020, Grocery trends: Fewer new products, but more changes in supermarkets and shopping

Torchlighters Re-entry Support, December 4, 2020, Fair Chance Employers

"We are honored to be a part of this program. We encourage every employer, nation-wide, to make these commitments and follow through. As justice gains ground (and it is gaining ground), attacks continue on the movement towards justice. Employers can voluntarily stand up to do the right thing. Meeting the requirements for Fair Chance Employer is the least we can do, particularly knowing that our criminal (in)justice system serves to provide a pool of cheap labor, in part, by limiting people's options and nurturing desperation.

After a win for worker justice in FL ($15/hour min. wage), just a few days ago a FL senator introduced a measure to reduce the min. wage for prisoners and employees convicted of a felony.

A minimum wage should be what is needed to live a decent life with full time employment. The cost of living a decent life should not be dependent upon whether you have served a sentence, but in fact, the way things are set up, being poor and labeled as "formerly incarcerated" is MORE expensive. The last thing we should be doing if we really care about healing, re-entry, and decency is providing every opportunity for individuals who face the most hurdles to overcome them." - AJP

Grateful Web, October 31, 2020, Nathaniel Rateliff Debuts Cover of Leonard Cohen's "There is a War"

"Nathaniel Rateliff is now sharing a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “There Is A War” performed with Kevin Morby and Sam Cohen. Produced by Sam Cohen (White Denim, Curtis Harding), the track marks the latest installment of The Marigold Singles Series, an ongoing project to raise money for Rateliff’s foundation, The Marigold Project, supporting community and nonprofit organizations working for economic and social justice....The Marigold Project is also set for the release of a community cookbook, Meet Me At The Table, on November 10. Meet Me At The Table features a compilation of musicians’ original recipes alongside profiles of food justice organizations, with short-form essays from historic and present-day activists in the food system: Sean Sherman, Leah Penniman, Nano Riley and Will Allen. Pre-order the cookbook HERE....Through centering the voices of activists, Rateliff’s foundation aims to spotlight issues of inequality and oppression as they exist in our food system. Proceeds from the cookbook will be split evenly among organizations profiled in the book, which include Agricultural Justice Project, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Food Chain Workers’ Alliance, North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems, Rural Advancement Foundation International, Soul Fire Farm, The GrowHaus, United Farm Workers and more."

The Cultivator, October 2, 2020, The Quest for Parity: Tales from an Upstate New York produce department

"AJP is modest, yet weighty. The non-profit recently provided technical assistance to 83 Northeast farms that participated in a fairness self-assessment.

...Now is the moment for influential brands to play a role in creating “market pull” for certification, says AJP co-founder Elizabeth Henderson. Her plea: Increase pay to farmer suppliers so fair working conditions are no longer considered a luxury ."

La Progressive, September 13, 2020, A Just Recovery for Sonoma Vineyard Workers?

"A sustainable wine industry is impossible in the North Bay without a living wage, comprehensive benefits, and dramatically improved working and living conditions for farmworkers...The Sonoma County Winegrowers’ sustainability certification should include the Agricultural Justice Project’s social justice screen, to ensure “adherence to workplace standards that protect worker rights…and address fair wages and benefits for workers, housing, workplace health and safety, as well as children on farms.” -Martin Bennett

Cornucopia, September 4, 2020, Fair Food.

The Real Organic Project, June 22, 2020, Farm Labor at Swanton Berry Farm.

'One of our Real Organic Project certified farms is Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport, California. Swanton is the national pioneer in creating different relationships between farm owners and farmworkers. They have given numerous workshops, appeared in books, and spoken to the UN. They are also certified by the Agricultural Justice Project. We are proud to have Swanton Berry Farm as part of our Real Organic community. “What would be the point of farming organically if the workers were underpaid, overworked or treated without respect? Just carrying the California Certified Organic label did not address these important issues.” – Jim Cochran, owner of Swanton Berry Farm'

Food Print, June 11, 2020, Food Justice.

Food Justice League. March 11, 2020, Sign On Letter, 5 Demands for a Top 5 University.

Beyond Chron: The Voice of the Rest, March 10th, 2020, A Just Recovery for Sonoma County Farmworkers?

Civil Eats, December 26, 2019, Our Best Food Justice Stories of 2019.

Fresh Fruit Portal, December 18, 2019, New International Guide to Fair Trade Labels.

National Family Farm Coalition, November 18, 2019, NOFA: Spreading Soil Health Practices, Keeping Fairness in Organic

AJP's Comments on the Proposed Changes to the Guestworker Program, submitted to the US Department of Agriculture, September 20, 2019.

Fair World Project, September 2019, Reference Guide to Fair Trade and Labor Justice Programs.

Mic, September 17, 2019, How to Read Food Labels When You’re Looking for Organic, Ethical, or Sustainable Products.


Sign-on Letter, August 31, 2019, Justice for Black Farmers.

Sign-on Letter, August 8, 2019, Defending Immigrant Workers Means Defending Us All: A Joint Statement by Food, Farm, and Labor Organizations. AJP's statement on the ICE Raids in Mississippi: These mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters feed us. A system that creates fear in them of exactly what has happened in these raids (being ripped from their families and imprisoned) attempts to keep them silent about unjust conditions. Their low wages (in 2016 poultry trimmers’ median household income was $22,510) line the pockets of higher ups in big food companies, who have such strong monopolies they can exploit workers and farmers alike without consequence. Now these workers' imprisonment will line the pockets of giant and growing private corrections facility companies that dominate the detention center system. We owe the workers respect, support, advocacy, and gratitude. Think about each of them as you eat your chicken tonight. We only have it on our plates because of the work they did. Our system, and the policies that support it, is designed to exploit food system workers for profit. Immigration policy is just one of the policies that perpetuates an unjust system that was never designed to be fair, or for the people. The law is unfair and needs to change. Our hatred of others is a cultural strategy manufactured to encourage us to allow the oppression of many for the benefit of a few. That also needs to change. Read the statement linked above by food, farm and labor organizations.

WUFT (NPR/PBS), May 29, 2019, A Small Gainesville Farm Works To Bring Food Justice to the South.

Civil Eats, April 29, 2019, Does Your Food Label Guarantee Fair Farmworkers’ Rights? This One Does.

Lacrosse Tribune, April 23, 2019, Higher Level Organics becomes first-ever certified fair trade CBD hemp farm

'“We strive to set the high bar in quality. Both in final product and in our production methods,” said Luke Zigovits, Higher Level Organics founder and co-owner of HempScience, a certified organic and fair trade CBD hemp brand...Zigovits, who has more than 20 years of experience in hemp advocacy and research, made the decision to pursue the certification in order to model a new path for hemp production, which has a long history of labor abuse.

“It’s simply the right thing to do. As hemp production continues to rise, an increase in agricultural labor will be necessary. Much like other large scale agriculture systems, there will be opportunities for companies to take advantage of farm labor,” explains Zigovits. “By certifying our farm to the AJP standards, Higher Level Organics can lead by example and pioneer fair trade hemp production.”'

Farm Stands, April 23, 2019, Higher Level Organics Partners with Agricultural Justice Project for Hemp Flower Production.

Cannabis Business Time, April 22, 2019, Higher Level Organics Partners with Agricultural Justice Project for Hemp Flower Production.

In Good Tilth - November 2018, Dividing the Pie: Creating a Fairer Food System.

AJP Press Release- November 29, 2018, Soul Fire Farm latest family and community farm to receive Food Justice Certification.

The Natural Farmer, Summer 2018, Keeping Fairness in Organic: The Agricultural Justice Project’s Food Justice Certification

KQED Food- March 2018, Acknowledging Programs That Protect and Empower Farmworkers for National Farmworker Awareness Week.

Dr. Bronner's Press Release - February 2018, Dr. Bronner's Unveils Special "Heal Earth!" Label, Promotes New Regenerative Organic Certification, And More at Natural Products Expo West 2018

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - February 2018, Hog Heaven? Health Livestock the Heartbeat of Sustainable Meat

Dr. Bronner's All-One Blog - January 2018, Moving Towards Regenerative Organic Certification

Sourcing Journal - October 2017, Rodale Institute Unveils Regenerative Organic Certification

Consumer Reports: Greener Choices - September 2017, Food Justice Certified Evaluation

Vegetable Growers News - May 2017, Program certifies farmers treat their workers right

Huffington Post - May 2017, Approach with Caution: Assessment of Fair Trade USA's Domestic Labeling Initiative

Yes! Magazine - April 2017, 4 Not-So-Easy Ways to Dismantle Racism in the Food System

Rochester City Newspaper - April 2017, Abundance Opens New Location in South Wedge

Willits News - April 2017, Students Learn about Farm Wages and Conditions

Edible Northeast Florida - March 2017, Farmworker in Northeast Florida

Dr Bronner's All-One blog - March 2017, How the Regenerative Agriculture and Animal Welfare Movements Can End Factory Farming, Restore Soil and Mitigate Climate Change

Modern Farmer - February 2017, High Cost of Cheap Labor

Progressive Grocer - January 2017, The Food Justice Certified Label is Here-- Are You Ready?

National Geographic - December 2016, Organic Farming Doesn't Mean Fairer Labor

Reveal - November 2016, Beware the Little Green Frog Logo on Your Sustainable Food

California Institute for Rural Studies - November 2016, Certification of Agriculture Fair Labor Practices

Food Tank - November 2016, 20 Organizations Fighting for Food Justice

Cornell Small Farms Quarterly - November 2016, Farmers Sign on to the Agricultural Justice Project

Organic Consumers Association - October 2016, 'Fairly' Confusing

Fair World Project - "For A Better World" magazine - October 2016, Issues and Challenges For A Just Economy

Morning Ag Clips - October 2016, Group Evaluates Farmworker Labels

YAHOO! Sports - October 2016, New Report from Fair World Project Evaluates Certification Programs that Seek to Ensure Transparency and Integrity of Working Conditions for Farmworkers

Center for Good Food Purchasing - 2016, Recommended Good Food Purchasing Values - Valued Workforce

In Good Tilth - Summer 2016, Perspective From a Food Justice Certified Farm

Cotter Crunch - May 2016, Garlicky Green Crock-Pot Chicken and Lentils {Gluten Free}

KQED Food- April 2016, Pie Ranch Sells Food for Thought at Highway One Non-Profit Farm Stand.

Heritage Radio Network – March 2016, The Farm Report: Episode 283 Fair Farm Labor for Farmers & Farm Workers

WCJP-TV – March 2016, Certification Looks at Employment

John Hopkins's Center for A Livable Future – February 2016, Instituting Change: An Overview of Institutional Food Procurement and Recommendations for Improvement

National Young Farmers Coalition – February 2016, Dismantling Injustice in the Food System: An Interview with Elizabeth Henderson

Forage Newsletter – February 2016, Organic and Fair Farming Practices in Gainesville, FL

Rochester Human Rights Committee – December 2015, Food Justice: The Right to Good, Clean, Local Food

Farmer to Farmer Podcast – December 2015, Elizabeth Henderson on International and Personal Perspectives on CSA

EcoFarm Newsletter – December 2015, From Our Fellow Farmer

Northeast Organic Farming Association - Rhode Island (NOFA-RI) – December 2015, Agricultural Justice Standards Update Comment Period Open

TIME – November 2015, The Best Way to Give Thanks? How About a Raise?

Food First – October 2015, $15/Hour Minimum Wage: Disaster or Opportunity for Family-scale Farms?

San Francisco Chronicle – September 2015, A Guide to the Fair Trade Labels

iEat Green – August 2015, iEat Green Interviews Elizabeth Henderson; A Farmer, Author, NOFA-NY Board Member and Lifetime Activist

Washington Post – July 2015, Will there ever be an organics label for worker rights?

AJP Press Release – June 2015, Taste the Fairness in North Central Florida’s Watermelons

AJP Press Release – April 2015, Whole Foods Market presents 2014 Supplier of the Year Award to the Agricultural Justice Project

edible Monterey Bay - Spring 2015, Edible Life: Not Easily Labeled

USDA Blog – March 2015, In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Lindsey Lusher Shute

Merced Sun-Star – January 2015, Food Justice Label Could Help Local Farmworkers

The Nation – November 2014, Can the Foodie Trend Also Help Food Workers?

New York Times – November 2014, Ban ‘Natural’ as a Marketing Label on Foods

Weavers Way Co-op – The Shuttle – October 2014, Fair Trade Certification for Food Made in the USA

The Friedman Sprout - October 2014, Justice on the Table: A Food Label for Justice

Alachua County Farm to School - September 2014, Jordan Brown and The Family Garden farm - growing salads for school lunches

Food Navigator-USA – September 2014, Food Justice Certified label aims to verify fair treatment of farm laborers, others in food chain

Takepart – September 2014, Sure, Organic is Great, but Where’s the Labeling Telling You How Farm Workers are Treated?

GreenStar Co-op – September 2014, GreenStar Named First Food Justice Certified Supermarket in North America

The Recorder - August 2014, Fresh Look at Fairness for Farmworkers

Tompkins Weekly – August 2014, Seeing the Faces Behind Agriculture

Small Farm Quarterly – July 2014, Cornell University, Small Farms Program – July 2014, First Food Justice Certified Farm and Food Stores in New York

Civil Eats – July 2014, Why Grocery Store Workers Are Making Less While Big Chains Clean Up

Honey Colony - May 2014, Hungry For Justice: A Filmaker’s Quest to Transform The Food System

Resilience.org – May 2014,

Happenings – April 2014, Food Justice – What It Means and Why We Need it in Western New York!

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) – April 2014, Food Justice Certified – A New Label for Food Justice

takepart – April 2014, Does Buying Organic Help Farmworkers?

City Market: Onion River Co-op – April 2014, The Search for Social Sustainability on the Farm

Slow Food Evenings: Understanding and Changing Our Food System – April 2014, April Slow Food Evening: Elizabeth Henderson, Food Justice and Slow Food

Community Alliance for Global Justice – March 2014, Confused About Ethical Labels on Your Food? Not this World Fair Trade Day!

KQED – Bay Area Bites – March 2014, Swanton Berry Farm, Bringing Justice to the Table

CAN – Community Agroecology Network – March 2014, “Beyond Organic: Narratives of Our Local Food System” Was A Success!

Just Food – March 2014, “Food Justice Food? Just Read the Label!”

CUESA – Cultivating A Healthy Food System – February 2014, Swanton Berry Farm: Bringing Justice to the Table

Agrarian Trust - February 2014, News In Farm Justice From Agrarian Trust Advisor Elizabeth Henderson

Half Moon Bay Review – February 2014, Pie Ranch Leads State with New Certification

Farm Fuel Blog – February 2014, 2014 Fundraising Kick-Off for Farm Fuel at Pie Ranch

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) – February 2014, Food Justice Certified: Ensuring Equity in Organic Agriculture

Organic Consumers Association – January 2014, The Whole LOAF

Take Part – November 2013, Move Over, Big Ag: Sustainability’s Movement Is Here

Grist – 2012, Labor of Love: Domestic Fair Trade Grows

Food Day – November 2012, Got Food? Thank Food Workers!

Peninsula Press – August 2012, Serving Justice- New Food Label Certifies Workers Rights’ on U.S. Farms

Forbes – May 2012, Consumer Demand for Food Justice Labels: The Next Big Thing

Civil Eats – April 2012, The Conscientious Omnivore – April 2012

A Fair Deal for California Farm Workers

City of Portland Oregon – April 2012, Social (Justice) Network

Food Sovereignty News – April 2012, Food Justice Certified Label

Sustainable Food News – January 2012, Organic Farms First in Northwest to Earn Food Justice Certified Label

PCC Natural Food Markets: Sound Consumer – January 2012, Justice for Farmworkers

Groundswell: Center for Local Food & Farming – August 2011, Food Justice Certification Gains Momentum: Certifiers and Farm Worker Representatives Complete Training and Qualifying Exam

Food Freedom – July 2011, Food Justice Certification Gains Momentum

AJP Trains Certifier and Worker Organization Representatives
May 2011, in Eugene, Oregon, Download July 2011 Press Release

Bon Appetit – June 2011, Advice For Young Farmers From Swanton Berry Owners

Southeast Green, Food Justice Certified Label Rewarding Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Farms and Businesses
Download Southeast Green article in PDF

CtNOFA – May 2011, Food Justice Certified

Fair World Project – March 2011, Swanton Berry Farm Promotes Labor Rights and Fair Trade

Cooperative Grocer – February 2011, Questioning At Will Employment – Food Justice Standards, Coop Practices Diverge on HR Strategy
Download Coop Grocer article in PDF

The Daily Yonder – February 2011, Letter from Langdon: Labeling Sustainable

Cooperative Grocer Network – January 2011, Questioning At-Will Employment

Groundswell - October 2010, Revising Social Justice in Sustainable and Organic Agriculture

Justice Feed Newsletter:

Agrictultural Justice Project


Check our our Founders Video Series: The Why & How of the Agricultural Justice Project.

In 1999, Michael Sligh, formerly of the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI – USA), Richard Mandelbaum and Nelson Carrasquillo, formerly of Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas/Farmworker Support Committee (CATA), Oscar Mendieta, Fundación RENACE, Bolivia, Elizabeth Henderson, formerly of Peacework Organic Farm and Marty Mesh, formerly of Florida Organic Growers and Consumers began a stakeholder process to develop standards for the fair and just treatment of the people involved in organic and sustainable agriculture.

While their experience was in North America, they set out to create standards that could be adapted for use anywhere in the world. They began with a review of existing social standards and then assembled a first draft of what became “Toward Social Justice and Economic Equity in the Food System: A Call for Social Stewardship Standards in Sustainable and Organic Agriculture.”

They circulated this draft to organic farmers and organic farming associations, non-profits, certification programs, eco-labeling experts, and labor and farm labor organizations. CATA also engaged in an internal process through which the organization’s farmworker members provided input to the worker standards. For two years, AJP circulated successive drafts of their standards to stakeholders in the US and abroad and received comments from around the world. To make the document accessible to a wider audience, they arranged for translations into Spanish and French. With each major revision of the document they circulated the new draft to those who had commented on previous drafts, as well as to people new to the project.

From 2002 - 2005, the founders worked with stakeholders around the world from IFOAM Organic Trade Conference in Bangkok, Thailand to meetings with the International Union of Food (IUF) in Montevideo, Uruguay. Ambitious goals and commitments were set by these meetings. One commitment was to further develop strategies to advance the social agenda in organic and sustainable agriculture, and to build cooperation between the organic and fair trade movements - strengthening the voice and participation of indigenous peoples as an urgent theme. At the close of 2005, the AJP team committed to designing a pilot project to test the standards and their practicality in the U.S. marketplace. (Download full history here)

The Original Pilot – Upper Midwest Region

The Agricultural Justice Project team worked for several years to develop a U.S. Pilot project to test its social stewardship standards on the ground. Through outreach and collaboration, the group built relationships with farmers, retailers, non-profits, and farmworker organizations around the county who are interested in developing a model of a just food system. The AJP also convened a national Advisory Council representing a broad array of stakeholders to advise and inform the group’s progress AJP meets with this Advisory Council on an annual basis. During this time, Quality Certification Services (QCS) developed the application and inspection forms, report language, and confidentiality documents necessary for a social justice certification.

The first step in piloting the project was to do informal inspections of farms in four regions of the county. These exploratory audits confirmed that AJP standards are realistic: farmers expressed the ability and desire to meet them.

A “pre-audit” of several of the region’s exemplary farms and co-ops in 2006 revealed outstanding practices, but a lack of the type of documentation that would be required for verification by a certifier.

Over the following winter, the AJP team developed a toolkit of information and resources to help the farms and co-ops document their good practices.

In the spring of 2007, Quality Certification Services (QCS) and the AJP team conducted official pilot certification audits of four farms and two co-ops in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including Bluff Country Co-op, pictured here receiving their initial pilot certification.

The AJP Partners

Project partners Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, Comité de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agrícolas/Farmworker Support Committee, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association, are leaders in the fields of sustainable agriculture policy, workers’ rights, community-based food systems, and organic certification. Each of the non-profit organizations in this unique partnership is grounded in decades of grassroots change-making and community-organizing. These three organization sit on the board. More information about our three governance bodies can be found on our governance page.

When we have positions available, AJP strongly encourages those from historically underrepresented populations, including BIPOC, LGBTQIA, individuals who have been previously prosecuted, and veterans to apply.

AJP is also certified as a Fair Chance Employer by Torchlighters Re-Entry

"Torchlighters Re-Entry Support envisions a community where returning citizens (a.k.a. formerly incarcerated people) are welcomed with open arms and given support to thrive in their new lives. When incarcerated people are released in Gainesville, Florida, their return to society is met with closed doors. Barriers to employment, housing discrimination, and social stigma often cause returning citizens to become homeless or cycle back through the justice system. Torchlighters Re-Entry Support is run by Community Spring Fellows who have been directly impacted by incarceration." - Torchlighters Re-Entry Support See AJP's statement about earning Fair Chance Employer Certification on our press page.

The AJP Staff and Team Members

Leah Cohen

General Coordinator

Leah Cohen is the General Coordinator for the Agricultural Justice Project. She first became aware of working and living conditions of farm labor within U.S. agriculture in 1995 as an intern driving a mobile dental clinic serving migrant camps in northwest agricultural fields. After traveling abroad as a volunteer coffee picker for a Nicaraguan cooperative and as an ambulance driver for the Nicaraguan non-profit Casa Materna serving high-risk pregnant women from the country-side, she became grounded again in the farm worker conditions in the Southeast U.S. as a moderator of the 1998 University of Florida Sowing Seeds for Change Symposium session on “Where Farmworkers Live.” From 2000-2001 Leah conducted research as a fellow of the World Agroforestry Center on the impact of illness on farming and fishing household livelihoods in rural western Kenya. From 2004 through 2009 she consulted on monitoring and evaluation assignments for USAID Title II food security programs in Africa by Africare, the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as serving as managing editor of the Africare Food Security Review. Her experience with the Agricultural Justice Project began in 2004 with development of the verification system for certification as a consultant for Quality Certification Services and continued with development of the certifier training module and workshop that trained the Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc. From 2009 to 2013 she served as the lead on the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) grant entitled “Improving the Lives of Southern Organic Farmers and Farmworkers.” Recognizing that western, white supremacy, patriarchal centered charity and aid work is unable to transition us to a just food system and society, she is committed to working towards justice rooted in the those most impacted and harmed being centered in the solutions and power structures to address systemic injustices and disparities.