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Letters: Tomatoes don't pick themselves

November 13, 2013

Re "The toil in Mexican tomatoes," Nov. 11

The United States is the land of liberty, opportunity and happiness. In complete contrast are parts of Mexico. Last year, $1-billion worth of vegetables was exported from the state of Sinaloa, including nearly half the tomatoes Americans consume.

The people who pick those vegetables should live like kings, yet they live like peasants.

We contribute to their destitution. They produce their most prized resource for us, and we cheat them by not ensuring that they receive proper wages.

Why does no one care? We sit in comfortable houses eating tomatoes picked by people who break their backs all day and sleep on dirt floors in shacks. If we traded fairly and confirmed fair treatment of workers, they could use the money to build.

Some improvements have been made, but if any U.S. citizen would not want to trade places with a Mexican tomato worker, then not enough has been done.

Crystal Andrews

Los Angeles

Although I appreciate your coverage of the conditions of tomato pickers in Mexico and the typhoon that hit the Philippines, I am looking for more in terms of connecting the dots about the underlying issue: climate change.

If we insist on eating tomatoes out of season and from far away, we are contributing to climate change and the power of big agriculture to create these serfdoms.

If we continue to elect politicians who won't put pressure on the energy companies to switch to cleaner power, the oceans will continue to warm and storms will be ever more powerful.

The media can raise awareness by pointing out that an action as simple as purchasing produce can have very broad ramifications.

Kathi King

Santa Barbara

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