This is a communication from Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida I would like to share..

On Wednesday, over a dozen sustainable food movement leaders– including authors Frances Moore Lappé (Diet for a Small Planet) and Raj Patel (Stuffed and Starved) as well as Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel and National Family Farm Coalition president Ben Burkett– came to Immokalee on a delegation to witness firsthand the reality faced by farmworkers.

“Historically th[e sustainable food] movement has focused on the environment, health, and preserving small farms. But we’ve completely missed the boat when it comes to work. Farmworkers need to be part of this movement….Today we are making that connection” said Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA, during the delegation’s press conference. Also during the press conference, Raj Patel placed a call to Governor Crist’s office to once again ask the Florida Governor to meet with the CIW and address abuses in Florida’s fields. For more details on the delegation, visit www.ciw-online.org

This month’s Gourmet magazine also bridges the gap between food and farmworkers with an article, “Politics of the Plate: The Price of Tomatoes,” which delves into the slavery and abuses behind the tomatoes eaten across the country. The article describes the story of Mariano Lucas Domingo, who was held as a slave picking tomatoes for two and a half years. Gourmet contributing editor Barry Estabrook also reports, “when asked if it is reasonable to assume that an American who has eaten a fresh tomato from a grocery store or food-service company during the winter has eaten fruit picked by the hand of a slave, Molloy said, “It is not an assumption. It is a fact.” Find the article in the March 2009 edition .

Gourmet’s online edition follows up on the article by noting: “A little slavery is okay, just not too much of it. At this writing, that appears to be the official government position in the state of Florida, and it could explain why the fields of the Sunshine State provide such fertile ground for modern-day slavery.”

As the CIW farmworkers prepare to head to Tallahassee to deliver thousands of letters to urge Governor Crist to change that position, we thank everyone who has collected signatures and signed on to the religious community letter. If you haven’t yet signed the letter, it’s not too late to do so or to encourage others to sign-on– visit http://www.interfaithact.org/GovCristLetter

tomato

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