Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Isle of Flowers

Furtado is not so much portraying deliberately malevolent actions but the insularity of the bourgeoisie, who are protected not only from the stink and disease of their rotting waste, but from the realities of existence at the edge of an unequal society where pigs as a commodity rank higher than the poor who must scavenge after the fat porkers. Eisenstein move over.

Read more here.

And then, lest you think that the story of the tomato is only about Brazil, check out the latest episode of "Splendid Table" (from American Public Media). You can hear Barry Esterbrook, author of Tomatoland, talking about Florida tomatoes.

Among other things, you'll learn that Florida tomato growers use pesticides very heavily, about eight times as much California growers use. Laws regarding the exposure of workers to pesticides are frequently violated and ignored.

Esterbrook tells us that recently at one tomato work camp in Florida, three women, who were all pregnant at the same time, were forced to work in the fields. All three gave birth to very badly deformed babies.

Slavery also remains endemic in Florida's tomato fields, to this day, according to the US District Attorney for South Florida. Over the last 10-15 years seven cases have been successfully prosecuted and 1200 enslaved tomato workers have been freed. But slavery continues to exist, and who knows how many slaves are working to produce the tomatoes we purchase from Florida, because it is very difficult to prosecute. It is difficult for the enslaved to speak up.


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