the price of produce vs. the human cost

Published on by neal rosenthal.

First off, let me tell you that CIP uses only locally sourced produce. Almost all of which is procured at local farmers markets, and from farms that practice stainable and organic methods. We pay more for this produce and that is ok with us. This makes me feel good about the products that we craft, and I have been doing this for well over thirty years. CIP likes to have relationships with these farmers, talk to them about what they do, get to know them, this builds respect for them, their product and us.

On Sunday December 7th the L.A. Times ran a cover story that really shook me up. here is a link to the entire story and I hope you take a couple of minutes and read the entire piece

“The Times found:

•Many farm laborers are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply.

•Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods.

•Laborers often go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It's common for laborers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest.

•Those who seek to escape their debts and miserable living conditions have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and sometimes threats of violence from camp supervisors.

•Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.

At Rene Produce in Sinaloa, The Times saw hungry laborers hunting for scraps because they could not afford to buy food at the company store.

The grower, which exported $55 million in tomatoes in 2014, supplies supermarkets across the U.S., including Whole Foods, which recently took out full-page newspaper ads promoting its commitment to social responsibility.”

Asked for comment, Whole Foods said it did not expect to buy any more produce "directly" from Rene, which it described as a minor supplier.

Ok, that’s great Whole Foods won’t buy any more after this article hit the stands…..but they did buy from them, and you might have bought produce at Whole Foods because they have a “social accountability agreement” and they market that! Further, they are not alone, Wal Mart, Safeway, Subway, Olive Garden and many more. to the tune of 80 million pounds in 2014.

“The companies say they are also committed to workers' well-being and cite their ethical sourcing guidelines. Retailers increasingly promote the idea that the food they sell not only is tasty and healthful but was produced without exploiting workers.

But at many big corporations, enforcement of those standards is weak to nonexistent, and often relies on Mexican growers to monitor themselves, The Times found.”

These mega agri corps treat the frigen vegetables better than the workers.

“SunFed, an Arizona firm that has distributed produce from Agricola San Emilio, said its representatives had inspected the fields and packinghouse at the farm but not the labor camp.

Your food is being grown by slave masters! and harvested by their slaves.

Please read the article, please buy local, please ask questions, and please don’t support the companies that buy, sell and use these products.