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.
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/.