May 15, 2011
Widely-read NY Times food and opinion columnist visits Immokalee, pens initial impressions ahead of longer column...
Calls Campaign for Fair Food "possibly the most successful labor action in the United States in 20 years"
In an exciting development, Mark Bittman -- the NY Times food and opinion columnist beloved for his simple recipes for great food and respected for his critical analysis of the food system -- traveled to Immokalee last week and spent the day learning about the Campaign for Fair Food and the unprecedented transformation taking place in farm labor conditions in Florida today.
While a longer reflection on the campaign and the changes underway is still to come, Mr. Bittman posted a quick essay on his visit late last week. Here's an excerpt:
"This morning I left Immokalee, Fla., the source of almost all the winter tomatoes grown in the United States. Its inspiring tomato workers have gone from enduring slavery, beatings, wage theft (and sub-minimum wage pay) and 12-hour days in the blazing heat with no shade, to a victory that, while not quite complete, is possibly the most successful labor action in the United States in 20 years, the details of which will have to wait for a column or even a story...
... I spent a couple of hours talking to workers and organizers at the offices of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, went for a walking tour of workers’ housing... even visited three workers in their “home,” and saw the house where several workers had once been held in slavery (not “like” slavery — slavery, as defined), chatted with one of the more progressive growers, and was driven through the fields, whose winter/spring crop is over, though not entirely picked..." read more
To read the rest of his post and see pictures from the visit, click here.
It was a pleasure to meet the man behind the popular column, and we are all looking forward to the longer story to come. Stay tuned!