Bad Press for Year Round Tomatoes Leads to Change

13 Sep

There are a million different issues that one can fight for when it comes to food production and distribution. In The Atlantic magazine there was an article titled, “The Cost of Year-Round Tomatoes.” Apparently, winter tomatoes are grown in Florida. Harvesting tomatoes is a very labor in tensive job. The workers are paid very little and some are even slaves. The Atlantic article was successful in publicizing the issue. Since its original publications on Friday, September 11th an update has been printed. The article is at least partially responsible for a deal being struck between the East Coast Growers and Packers, one of Florida’s largest tomato growers and a supplier to many fast food giants and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to implement the CIW’S “Fair Food” agreements, including the penny-per-pound raise to harvesters, as well as making their supply chain more transparent, and following a stringent code of conduct.

A penny-per-pound may not seem like a lot but I am sure that this is have a profound impact on the harvesters lives. 

A little publicity is extremely beneficial in many of these circumstances. Changing your diet from a diet filled with conventional crops, to a more sustainable diet may not have a huge impact. You are just one person. But, as at previous post have explained peer pressure is the most affective way in influence people’s behavior, on environmental and sustainable issues. So, its important for you to make good choices. But more important its important for the people who select menus at restaurants. 

Helen York is the author of The Atlantic article about tomatoes. He decisions affect millions of people. She selects the menu at several restaurants around the country. These places serve over 120 million meals annually. If she stops serving tomatoes in the winter because the workers are slaves, she is going to have an impact on the industry. Her voice will be heard. And your voice will be heard if you support her decision to not eat tomatoes year round. 

What you buy and what you publish in various media outlets is powerful and working. This article proves how quickly news spreads and what impact it has.

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Posted by on September 13, 2009 in Sustainable Agriculture


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