I’m very proud to be a member of the food blogging community. It’s full of so many loving and thoughtful individuals who understand the importance of the foods we eat and the choices we make as consumers. Today, many of us are joining forces to take part in Food Bloggers for Slave-Free Tomatoes; a special event organized by Nicole Gulotta of The Giving Table.
This day evolved from a separate amazing project: Tomato Love. Tomato Love is a recipe exchange taking place all summer with giveaways from sponsors such as KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and BigKitchen. Its purpose, aside from sharing recipes, is to raise awareness for the International Justice Mission’s Recipe for Change campaign. Until recently, I had no idea that Florida’s tomato fields were being referred to as “ground zero” for modern-day slavery in the United States. In the past 15 years, over 1,000 people have been freed from slavery in U.S. tomato fields. Today, it is our hope to bring awareness of this issue to as many people as possible.
Recipe for Change is a campaign led by IJM in partnership with the Fair Food Standards Council and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. They’re targeting three major supermarket chains this summer (Ahold, Publix and Kroger’s), and asking its CEOs to support the Fair Food Program. Corporations that join agree to pay a small price increase for fairly harvested tomatoes (1.5 cents more per pound), and promise to shift purchases to the Florida tomato growers who abide by these higher standards–and away from those who won’t. Major fast food companies, like McDonalds and Subway, have already endorsed the Fair Food Program, but the largest U.S. supermarket chains have yet to support this collaborative effort to eradicate modern-day slavery. Supermarkets can help eliminate slavery and other serious abuses from the tomato supply chain when they join the Fair Food Program. But in order to change its policies, CEOs need pressure from consumers.
Where can I purchase slave-free tomatoes right now?
You can purchase slave-free tomatoes at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, your local Farmer’s Market, or your CSA box.
What can I do to help?
- Send a letter to supermarkets that do not support slave-free tomatoes using this link. It takes all of 30 seconds to fill in your name, email, and hit the send button. The more people we can encourage to participate, the greater the likelihood that supermarkets will change their policies.
- Encourage the purchase of slave-free tomatoes from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and take action. We can make a difference! And now, here’s my recipe using slave-free tomatoes!
I’ve been enjoying my new garden tremendously this summer. Tomatoes are definitely front and center! I have 3 different plants providing me with black prince heirloom, plum and cherry tomatoes. This is my first time growing anything and I can say with confidence that tomatoes are very easy to grow. Seriously, if I can do it anyone can. The farmer’s market is great, but there’s nothing like grabbing a tomato straight from the vine, bringing it into the kitchen and using it while it’s still hot from the sun. If you have a backyard, a deck or even a balcony you really should consider growing your own tomatoes.
For this wonderfully light Orzo Caprese Salad I also used homegrown basil and mozzarella from the local farmer’s market. A few high quality ingredients are what make this special. You don’t need fancy ingredients to make wonderful food. Ingredients made with love taste that much sweeter.
- 2 cups uncooked orzo
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup tomatoes of your choice, cut small (I used cherry)
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare orzo according to instructions. Make sure to salt the water. After it finishes cooking, rinse with cold water and drain.
- Whisk together the olive oil, agave and lemon juice.
- Toss with the orzo in a large bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and gently stir to combine,
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Customize the ingredients to your taste. You can add more mozzarella, basil, or both. You can also chiffonade the basil for a nice presentation.