Could You Live on $20 a Day? Ask Florida’s Tomato Workers

Lupe Gonzalo: Episode 96 of The Perennial Plate from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

Low wages, outrageous workloads: Tomato picker Lupe Gonzalo talks to The Perennial Plate.

You might think of tomatoes merely as supermarket staples, but in Florida, where the majority the nation’s crop is grown, thousands of pickers toil for less than a living wage. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a grassroots farmworkers’ rights organization, is trying to change that by asking supermarket chains and fast-food outlets to sign Fair Food Agreements that would improve conditions for the industry’s workers. Daniel Klein, of The Perennial Plate, spent the day with Lupe Gonzalo, a tomato picker and CIW organizer. Watch her story, then imagine picking 200 full-sized buckets of tomatoes in 105-degree heat.

You’ll never look at a supermarket tomato the same way again.

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