"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Warning, Politics Ahead


Please click on the above link and read the story about the people who pick tomatoes in the winter in Florida. I'm sorry, I can't seem to help getting more and more political about food issues. 

I'd heard about this situation before. I have heard, somewhere, about a group that was trying to get large grocery stores and corporations like McDonald's to pay a one cent per pound premium to better the conditions for migrant farmworkers, and that many had signed on. I'd heard that the Tomato Grower's Association  of Florida was resisting the trend. But I hadn't paid a whole lot of attention, until I got this month's glossy food-porn fix in the mail. What a surprise! Thank you, Gourmet, for having the guts, the chutzpah, to publish this alarming and horrifying report. I'm sure you'll catch a lot of flak for it.

As the wife of a Mexican immigrant, and as a nurse who has worked with immigrant farmworkers in the past, I must strongly condemn the system that allows - encourages! - the virtual enslavement of poor, mostly ignorant people who are only doing what they think they must to help their families. You've probably heard before that we in the U.S. pay a smaller percentage of our income on food than any other nation in the world. Well, this is how we make that happen, people. On the backs and with the blood of desperately poor people from other countries. 

Okay, rant over. What am I going to do? First off, I'm going to grow a shitload of tomatoes this year. I'm going to spend a couple of very hot weeks come August canning as many tomatoes as I can. And if I still have to buy winter tomatoes next year, I'm going to buy local hothouse tomatoes from Washington or B.C., not Florida or Mexican tomatoes. 

I'm also going to this website, below, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and signing their petition to the Govorner of Florida to urge him not to tolerate slavery in the state of Florida. Won't you please do the same?



TheMartianChick said...

I tried to send the email to the governor of Florida, but it wouldn't allow me to because I don't live in the state. That report was absolutely appalling. I will also be planting extra tomatoes. I don't want to have to even buy sauce if I can avoid it. Then I will know that my dollars did not support this atrocity.

Don said...

Thanks for the heads-up on the plight of these workers in Florida. It is ridiculous what we do to people.

I already have plans for lots of tomatoes.

I have canned them in the pst, and am going to try to do a combo of some in the freezer and some canned.

ChristyACB said...

Truly appalling report and I'm growing my full share of tomatoes this year as well (so long as Nature agrees to let me!). Like you, I'll pay the premium for local ones (u-pick) to can if I don't get enough from the garden.

Alpaca Granny said...

Thanks for passing along this info, Aimee

AnyEdge said...

The entire farm system in America is screwed, politically. Our food would be even cheaper if the Government wasn't using tax dollars to ensure that millions of acres lie fallow every year, artificially inflating prices on purpose.

And I don't know what a solution is either. If we cut subsidies, food proces drop, and there's even less incentive to pay people a living wage. It's an economic conundrum. But we certainly should pay companies to keep indentured servants.

~ Denise ~ said...

Thanks for the eye-opener - I despise our food/political system. I agree with AnyEdge's comment...it's like the WalMart debate. People want goods cheap despite the slavery behind the products. Americans, for the most part, are greedy and materialistic much to their detriment. *ugh*

So, maybe you can some tomatoes and sell them to me? ;)

Aimee said...

Dear Denise, tomatoes grow great in containers! You'd be surprised what you can grow in a five gallon bucket on a sunny porch!

And bro, surely you mean we should NOT pay companies to have indentured servants?