Just Send Tomatoes
How much will you spend this week on tomatoes—fresh, canned, on pizza or in falafel?
Today, I will be traveling to Immokalee, Florida with a group of seventeen rabbis to meet with migrant tomato workers, and to learn about the working conditions in the fields.
Will you join us in a virtual visit to Immokalee by making a gift equal to what you spend each week on tomatoes?
It takes something really important to pry a pulpit rabbi away from sermon writing two weeks before Rosh Hashanah.
This is really important.
The workers who pick our tomatoes are paid by the pound, not by the hour: most do not earn even minimum wage. Reports of human trafficking are rampant. One U.S. attorney has called the Florida tomato fields “ground zero” in the fight against slavery in the United States. And conditions in the fields can be unsafe: workers handle harsh pesticides, and can be subject to sexual assault by their bosses.
But these workers are fighting hard to change this reality. Through the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, they have persuaded some major fast food restaurants and produce growers to pay a penny more a pound, and to stop trafficking in the fields. But in many fields, dangerous and unjust work conditions persist.
In a few days, I look forward to sharing with you a report of what we learn from meeting with these workers, seeing the fields, and talking with growers. In the meantime—please join us in a virtual visit to the tomato fields with a gift that represents what you were planning to spend on tomatoes this week.
Some of us will be live tweeting our visit. The hashtag is #tomatorabbis
Rabbi Anna Boswell-Levy
ps. Please keep your real tomatoes at home, though. We’re not sure how our mail carrier would react to a bushel of beefsteaks.