A Story of Slavery and Freedom in Florida's Tomato Fields

A short documentary shows a side of tomatoes few people ever see or think about.
tomato justice by national farm worker ministry



Video courtesy of panleft

When looking at tomatoes in the supermarket, the questions most people consider are related to the tomatoes themselves. Are they ripe? Organic? Chemically treated? As with most food, it rarely occurs to average shoppers to ask how the produce got there, where it came from, or who picked it.

In 2005 the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) won a major victory when Yum! Brands—owner of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut—agreed to purchase tomatoes only from companies who raised wages and enforced better working conditions for laborers.

Founded in 1993, the CIW has played an important role in improving working conditions and putting a stop to slavery practices for Florida field laborers. The short documentary Immokalee: A Story of Slavery and Freedom by Jeff Imig, follows the people that were instrumental in forming the coalition and furthering the cause of just wages and decent living conditions for Florida's tomato pickers.

  • Read more about CIW in YES! Magazine's Winter 2012 issue!

  • Workers’ rights activists are taking on one of the largest supermarket chains in America, Florida-based Publix.

  • When farmworkers needed a way to reach one another, they invited activists nationwide for a radio barn raising.
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