This video has been sent to me a couple of time this week, filmed during a visit to Immokalee, Florida by Daniel Klein of The Perennial Plate. It's where a third of the country's tomatoes are grown for grocery sales.
During his visit, Klein interviews Lupa Gonzalo from Guatemala, a tomato picker and organizer for Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Many have only recently been released from slavery, confirms Gonzalo, though she and her fellow workers make only $20 or $30 a day, "and everything pays for rent and food," she says.
The CIW and others have been working to raise laborers' wages by having companies sign on to pay a penny per pound more for tomatoes. While McDonald's and Taco Bell have agreed, local chain Publix remains steadfast against the price increase.
Barry Estabrook helped publicize slavery of Immokalee workers in his book, Tomatoland, of which we just received one paperback from the publisher. If you'd like the copy, I'd be happy to send it along to the first commenter. Let me know in the comments how to get in touch with you. It's a compelling read.
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