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 Post subject: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:06 am 
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Has it on Blue Vinyl
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http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... ef=general

Wow, this article by Bittman about the slave conditions of tomato pickers in Florida is pretty severe. I mean, I knew farm workers had it bad, but to read the details, it is way worse than I thought!

Some of the comments raise some good points (like is it really true the unions fought harvesting machines?) but still, it makes me never want to buy an industrially farmed tomato ever again.

I am so glad I grow my own! I hope they don't get attacked by disease this year. If they do, I'm going to make sure to only buy local from the farmer's market!

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:16 am 
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I'm glad he wrote about this. It's one of those issues that doesn't get much attention. It's such a small cost per tomato to raise their wages that it's pretty sickening growers won't pay it.


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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:03 am 
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I don't know about beatings and sexual harrassment but I think the same could say for most growers that utilize immigrant workers. In California, a lot of manual labor is used in growing fruits and vegetables. The workers are definitely mistreated and underpaid. That is why the whole silliness of 'they are taking OUR jobs!' type mentality is pretty laughable. The reason that a lot of growers feel they can treat the workers that way is because they utilize a lot of illegal immigrants. We need to stop having those that work in our fields as second class citizens. Yes the price of fruits and vegetables will go up but it isn't a way to treat people.

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:32 am 
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ugh
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Wow. I'll definitely pick up that Tomatoland book soon.

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:54 am 
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Unfortunately, my grocery store only sells non-organic tomatoes but during the summer we eat the tomatoes that we grow and I'm able to buy them from local farms as well. I'm moving during the fall and when I do, I'm only getting organic tomatoes (hopefully from some place local).

I'm actually not too surprised by any of this but sometimes it takes reading about it to bring it to the front of your mind again.

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:35 am 
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Not a creepy cheese pocket person
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Buying organic doesn't necessarily mean the workers are treated better, though it does mean they're exposed to fewer dangerous chemicals. This really is a case where public opinion is needed to force large buyers to demand change from growers.


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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:49 pm 
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does anyone know if canada has similar issues? i usually only buy canadian tomatoes and only in season... the usa ones are expensive here and taste like crepe anyway. hmm... i do buy a lot of canned tomato products though... i'm guessing all those are from the states too.


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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:58 pm 
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Get involved! Here is the site for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Quote:
The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida.

We strive to build our strength as a community on a basis of reflection and analysis, constant attention to coalition-building across ethnic divisions, and an ongoing investment in leadership development to help our members continually develop their skills in community education and organization.

From this basis we fight for, among other things: a fair wage for the work we do, more respect on the part of our bosses and the industries where we work, better and cheaper housing, stronger laws and stronger enforcement against those who would violate workers' rights, the right to organize on our jobs without fear of retaliation, and an end to involuntary servitude in the fields.

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:09 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
Get involved! Here is the site for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Thank you for the link, I'm going to check it out and see if I'm able to do anything.

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:36 pm 
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Another good book to read if you're interested in learning more is John Bowe's Nobodies. It's written really well and quite informative.

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:40 am 
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littlebird wrote:
does anyone know if canada has similar issues? i usually only buy canadian tomatoes and only in season... the usa ones are expensive here and taste like crepe anyway. hmm... i do buy a lot of canned tomato products though... i'm guessing all those are from the states too.


Sure does. See http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2001/05/21/migrant_workers010521.html, for example. There are plenty of other crops and areas in Canada where migrant and First Nations workers work in exploitative and dangerous conditions.


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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:54 pm 
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Eric Schlosser wrote a book that covered in part the treatment of strawberry pickers in California's central valley (also, the porn industry and the underground marijuana industry. I forget what it's called but Jordan Pattern has it now- ask her!). I think strawberries are known colloquially as 'the devil's fruit' because harvesting them is just so brutal.

I grew up in dairy/wine farmland, so the whole "they took our jurbs!" argument never held any currency with me. I saw every day the work that undocumented migrants really do in this country and it's definitely not collecting welfare all day like some people think, or pushing American-born English speakers out of jobs, like so many others believe.

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:09 am 
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I can't even imagine being a poor strawberry worker. I get so hot and tired just from bending over to pick my 2.5 x 4 foot patch.

There's another article on mojo about farm worker's plights. He points out that the dirty dozen list doesn't take the effects of the pesticides on the workers into account.

http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/201 ... armworkers

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:17 am 
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Here's another group that's put a unique twist on getting people involved. I wonder how many people have taken the challenge?
http://www.ufw.org/toj_play/TOJNEW_12_JAL.html

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:12 am 
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My stepfather grew up in a small town in northern California and he said that the usual high school job was picking crops. Can you imagine teenagers doing that these days?

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:12 am 
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Wow. I'm gonna grab Tomatoland soon, too.


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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:01 am 
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Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
Eric Schlosser wrote a book that covered in part the treatment of strawberry pickers in California's central valley (also, the porn industry and the underground marijuana industry. I forget what it's called but Jordan Pattern has it now- ask her!). I think strawberries are known colloquially as 'the devil's fruit' because harvesting them is just so brutal.



I think it's called Reefer Madness...

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:10 am 
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The anti-immigrant backlash in Georgia means that illegal immigrants, the only people willing to do the harvesting work, are being chased out of state. The harvests are set to rot unless the state can find a solution.

Of course Gov. Dean can't suggest better conditions or wages. Instead his plan is to use parolees. Almost 60% of the incarcerated population is non-white, so this means that you're going to have Black men forced to work in the fields harvesting cotton under armed guards. Hmmmm. When did we last see this?

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=11910

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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:16 am 
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Last summer I heard a report on NPR that in California people who were on welfare could get jobs working in the fields to work off what th were being paid from the government. Only three people signed up for this program and only one made it through one day of picking fruit and didn't come back for a second day.

I am really interested in reading tomatoland. I have been on farms where workers are treated well but I am sure that small farmers treat their workers much btter than large scale farms.


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 Post subject: Re: True Cost of Tomatoes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:34 am 
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I haven't bought tomatoes here in AGES because I have no idea how they were grown and picked. Even at the farmer's market, I'm just not sure.

Someone my boyfriend knows gave me a bunch of organic ones he grew in his backyard once. They were amazing.

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