Way to Go, Joe. Major Victory for Tomato Workers. Trader Joe’s Signs Fair Food Agreement

Trader Joe’s, a national grocery chain with more than 350 outlets in nine states, has become the second major food retailer to sign on to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Agreement. For a more than a decade, the CIW, a grassroots farmworkers’ rights organization, has tried to persuade supermarket chains, fast food […]

A Sufferer from TDS (Tomato Deprivation Syndrome) Dreams about the Days of Brandywines and Roses

My favorite garden catalog arrived this week. I am an unabashed lover of tomatoes – real tomatoes that I grow in the summer, not the tough, tasteless orbs that pass for tomatoes in supermarkets this time of year. So I immediately flipped the pages until I found the tomato section and began gazing longingly at […]

The Profound Impact of a Penny

Raising the price of tomatoes by 1 cent a pound would change farmworkers’ lives. Trader Joe’s said no. But first, a none-too-subtle word from our sponsor Click here to place an order with Amazon Click here to place an order with Barnes & Noble Click here to place an order with Borders Click here to place an […]

Estabrook Goes to Tomato School and Learns about the New Rights Farmworkers Have Won under the CIW Fair Food Agreement

Last week, I attended tomato school. Sitting in a room at a packing plant near Immokalee in southwest Florida with about 50 migrant laborers, I learned that I had a right to earn a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, could take regular breaks in a shady area provided by the farm—including a lunch break. […]

Introducing “Tomatoland,” My Soon to be Released Book about What Industrial Agriculture Has Done to Our Most Alluring Fruit

  To be Published in June Click here to place an advance order with Amazon Click here to place an advance order with Barnes & Noble Click here to place an advance order with Borders Click here to place an advance order with Indiebound Click here to place an advance order with Powell’s   What the […]

Tomato Workers Travel 3,000 Miles to Ask for a One-Penny-a-Pound Raise; Big Supermarket Chains Give them the Cold Shoulder

My protest marching skills are a bit rusty, having last been put to use in 1968 on behalf of Eugene McCarthy and his thwarted bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. But on a bitter afternoon in Boston recently, I sloshed through a few inches of slushy snow with more than 900 supporters of the Coalition […]

Coalition of Immokalee Workers Lands a Knockout Blow for Field Laborers Justice

Coalition of Immokalee Workers Photograph   A few months ago, I attended an amateur boxing match in Immokalee, Fla., an agricultural community in the southwestern part of the state. It didn’t look like it was going to be a fair fight. In one corner was a strapping fellow in his late teens or early 20s. […]

The Next Best Thing: Does Jay Scott hold the future of decent store-bought tomatoes in his hands?

A cut above? Photograph: Bejo Seeds In supermarket tomatodom, this is the Holy Grail: a fruit thick-skinned enough to shrug off the insults of modern agribusiness, but still tender at heart and tasting like, well, a tomato. And John “Jay” Scott might have discovered it. Scott is a horticulture professor and tomato breeder at the […]

Florida Farm Workers Left Out in the Cold

Photograph by Scott Robertson courtesey of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers   Following this week’s prolonged cold snap in Florida, news reports bemoaned the prospect of higher prices for orange juice and crops such as strawberries, citrus, and tomatoes. The state’s governor (and United States Senate hopeful) Charlie Christ promptly issued an executive order to […]

Not-So Candid Cameras: Supermarket Films Protesting Farmworkers’ Kids

After more that 15 years of petitions, demonstrations, hunger strikes, and lobbying efforts, members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a group trying to alleviate the abysmal labor conditions in Florida’s tomato fields (including slavery), take adversity as a given in their battle to secure living wages from the giant corporations that control the […]