Meet the Workers Who Pick a Third of the Tomatoes in U.S. Supermarkets

The Perennial Plate, a web series about sustainable food, interviews Lupe Gonzalo, a tomato picker and organizer in Immokalee, Florida. Paid per bucket of tomatoes and living nine to a trailer, workers like Gonzalo struggle to make ends meet. An immigrant from Guatemala, Gonzalo talks about why she came to the U.S. and became an organizer for the Coalition for Immokalee Workers. Daniel Klein, the co-creator and host of the series, wants to spread awareness about the harsh conditions and labor practices behind the produce we often take for granted. "Most likely," he writes, "there is a wonderful person just like her picking the tomatoes you buy at the grocery store.

The Perennial Plate is produced by Klein and Mirra Fine, and more episodes from the series can be found on the Atlantic Video channel here.

National Farmworker Awareness Week, from March 24 to 29, is a nation-wide effort to call attention to how much consumers don't know about farm labor practices in this country. Nearly half a million children work as migrant laborers, harvesting up to 25% of crops grown in the U.S., Helene York explains in her piece about U Roberto Romano's film, The Harvest/La Cosecha. The film tells the stories of three teenagers as they travel from state to state for work, including tomato farms in Florida. For a hard look at the tomato industry and Immokalee, in particular, see Barry Estabrook's book Tomatoland.

For more information about The Perennial Plate, visit http://www.theperennialplate.com/

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Video

Just In