It’s tomato season! We couldn’t be more excited that it’s high time for our favorite summer fruit.
We’re even more excited to hear about a new initiative to ensure our beloved tomatoes can come to us free of exploitation, thanks to one of our favorite organizations. IJM (International Justice Mission) is a human rights agency committed to fighting modern day slavery and exploitation throughout the world. They were one of the first organizations we heard of when we started learning about the issue.
At that time, we didn’t realize that modern day slavery was not just happening abroad — it’s an issue even here in our home country of the US! Forced labor is actually happening in our tomato fields here in the US (check out the book Tomatoland for more details if you’re interested – we first heard about this through an NPR story on the book).
This summer, IJM is sponsoring a campaign called Recipe for Change. They’re asking US supermarket chains to join in a Fair Food Program to ensure the tomatoes you buy are slave-free.
Along with many other food bloggers, we’re taking today to let you know about this issue! And we got to develop a delicious recipe with slave-free tomatoes to celebrate. Check out the tomato posts around the web (the list of participating blogs is here). And a special thanks to Nicole at The Giving Table for putting this call to action together!
How amazing is it that we live in an age where we can have a voice with just the click of a mouse? We both couldn’t be more excited to sign our names to the letter. If you’re excited too, please join us!
Sign the Recipe for Change Petition
And where to buy tomatoes in the meantime? Since we are low on garden tomatoes this year, we bought the pictured tomatoes at the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market. Check out your local markets for some “happy tomatoes”; Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have also joined the program to sell only slave-free tomatoes. And remember to eat within tomato season for your area too (check out this Seasonal Ingredient Map for info on US seasonal ingredients)!
*Side note: About a year ago, we starting giving a portion of our ad revenue from this blog to IJM, and have been honored to share proceeds from all of your views with them. Thank you for your readership, since every time you view a page on this site you are doing a little bit to fight slavery too!
The following info was provided by IJM:
Slavery is not just happening overseas. Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy once
called Florida’s tomato fields “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.
Recipe for Change–a campaign led by International Justice Mission in partnership with the
Fair Food Standards Council and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers–is 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
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.
Call to Action
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
Take 30 seconds, raise your voice, and sign your name to help ensure that supermarket tomatoes
- 8 ounces buckwheat noodles (soba)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 cups (1 pint) cherry tomatoes
- 15-ounce can cannellini beans
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme
- Fresh ground pepper
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add soba noodles and cook according to the package instructions, 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente.
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic clove. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, if canned. Place the garlic, tomatoes, and beans in a large bowl, and stir in 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Let sit while the pasta cooks. Thinly slice the basil (chiffonade), and roughly chop the thyme leaves.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it, then place it in the bowl with the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar; add the herbs and mix to combine. Add fresh ground pepper and a bit more kosher salt to taste. Top with shavings of Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.