From farm to grocery store—how does it all happen?
January 2020—last week I took a service trip from my school to learn about FOOD JUSTICE and FARMERS! Food justice is basially a movement to fix problems that go on with growing food, being able to get food and the cost of food. It might be boring to think about but farms and grocery stores have ALOT of POWER over how they treat farmers—and we must stay woke so keep reading!
Immokalee, FL— I never even heard of the city until this trip, and I used to live in Florida! So a few things about this city: it is unincorporated. This means that the city does not have its own local government. THIS IS IMPORTANT because it doesn’t have its own police, it’s own health department—which means its LAWS, POLICE and other resources come from the neighboring town or nearby city.
Tomatoes in Immokalee— The first stop was learning about WHERE FOODS come FROM. Florida is very hot and has a lot of land so it’s perfect for growing fruits and veggies—it mostly GROWS TOMATOES & CITRUS foods. We focused on tomatoes and visited tomatoes FARMS & PACKAGING PLANTS.
I learned that tomatoes are actually REALLY SENSITIVE and can’t handle a lot of chemicals or pesticides. Garguilo Farms actually even told us that their tomatoes do not use GMOs or Monsantos Fertiziler “Round Up” which is going through a lawsuit for causing cancer!!! Something REALLY IMPORTANT to know is that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT gives subsidies (money for certain activities) to ANIMAL AGRICULTURE (cow, chicken & pig farms) BUT DOES NOT to any VEGETABLE or FRUIT FARMS. You tell me whats wrong with this picture...I will definitely have to write another blog post about this but the main issue is that this is why HEALTHY OPTIONS ARE EXPENSIVE!
The packaging plant is where the tomatoes or any food gets sorted by machines and by people to organize the ripe, unripe and “ugly” kinds. It thens gets packaged into the plastic containers you see at the stores—by machines & people. There was a lot of fancy technology I saw just to sort out tomatoes—I’m talking machines that take pictures per second, color coding machines, there was even a ETHYLENE ROOM (hormone made by tomato) to control how fast or slow tomatoes become ripe! Another FUN FACT—you might not ever know which farm your tomatoes comes from. Farms sell their tomatoes to stores like Trader Joe’s or Wegmans. Stores will ask farms not to put a label so that they can put the store name label. So even though Wegmans doesn’t own or grow tomatoes they’ll put their label on it!
BOYCOTT WENDYS— don’t support Wendy’s tomatoes or anything on their menu ! Why? I’ll be posting later tonight Part 2 of my trip “Who Grows Your Food?”
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