Archive | November, 2011

CIW and La Via Campesina

29 Nov

To my understanding, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is an organization that fights large companies with the issue of improving wages and working conditions for tomato workers. They are based out of Florida but communicate with many other states worldwide to help them defend social justice within the system. Many of the people that are apart of these groups are Latino, Haitan and Mayan Indians who also are workers in low-wage jobs throughout the state, including farm workers. One act they brought to the table was the idea of making one penny more per bucket of tomatoes. If you asked me, that is a huge promotion in the long run. Can companies really afford to do that? Should they really be paid more? Also, CIW has been in arguments with Taco Bell, McDonalds, Compass Group and Whole Foods Market all about improving wages in the chain of supply. With Taco Bell, they were able to agree on multiple aspects of the system including incentives and respecting worker human rights. If they were able to get the attention of a company like Taco Bell that is known around the world, then they must have a pretty big impact and are possibly able to impact other companies. Later, they were able to make an agreement with McDonalds, Burger King and Whole Foods. This organization has done some pretty big things within the food industry. I wonder if they are able to push those companies into paying their workers with higher wages?


La Via Campesina is an organization advocating family-farm based agriculture and the goal is to realize food sovereignty and stop the destructive neoliberal process. The right to grow agriculture in one’s own territory. They just want to be able to provide for their community in a healthy way without relying on the corrupted food industry. This organization is made up of nine regions and continues to fight for justice within their community and worldwide.


The only thing that both of these organizations want is change, change in wages, change in working conditions and change in the food industry. If CIW continues on the path that it is going now then they will soon prosper and companies will recognize not only what they are doing but what their competitors are also doing. There is not much as a consumer that we can do about it though unless we work for the company. Either 1. Stop eating or buying at places that sell these tomatoes, which is most unlikely because we like the food or 2. Continue to eat there promoting the cause in a way, so really it is up to the manufacturers or company executives to figure out something if need be.



15 Nov

After re-watching the video in class, it is amazing to me how different the bananas we see at the grocery stores, yellow and plump, to the ones that are actually being produced in places such as Costa Rica look. The bright green coloring of the bananas is a whole lot different than what we are used to seeing, and in order to have these bananas ready in time and able to make a profit off of, harsh chemicals are used to make them turn a certain color and to sell to the grocery stores faster.

As seen in the movie, Chiquita uses these workers to their full if not over their potential. These workers are forced to work long hours in back breaking conditions. First, they have to pick the bananas by the tons at tall heights, and then pull them along a long line in the hot sun to the plantation where harsh chemicals, such as ethylene, are stored in huge pools where the workers have to soak the bananas in. When I hear washing I think of soap and water, not chemicals to preserve or what not to fruit. It makes me wonder if the bananas are okay to eat, or if we are consuming harsh chemicals that may later cause some sort of cancer. After they “wash” the bananas, they then have to work at a very fast pace to put the bananas in large boxes for Chiquita and stack many boxes to load them into trucks to export to the United States and other such countries that may need their bananas.  

 So, what we eat and see in the grocery stores, come from a long process of hard work and unsuitable working conditions. I do understand though that big corporations such a Del Monte, Chiquita and Dole employ so many workers so they do need to make as much profit as they can to strive but I also feel like there may be another route to take. I’m sure many people have thought of ideas in which to better the system. Furthermore, the concept to use chemicals to induce the development of the bananas is also understandable in a sense that time is money. These corporations have to export to many different countries and many different places and if they don’t have enough bananas at a certain time their company can lose a lot of money.  I know this is not what we discussed in class but there is two sides to every story and I am just trying to see it both ways.

 Going back to the consumer side, as mentioned in class and as Patel states, this is another example where consumers don’t have a choice on what they eat and how choices are made for us. We eat bananas because they are good but if all consumers knew how they were produced and the working conditions that these people have to go through, some consumers may not be as apt to buying bananas from such companies. Although, for me I can still say that I am going to eat bananas because I like them and they are good for you, minus the little trace of chemicals.

Dissmore’s in Pullman vs. Safeway in Gig Harbor

6 Nov

When going to Dissmore’s to buy grocery, the first thing I notice when I walk in is the coffee stand in front of me, the bakery to my left, and the wine just behind the coffee stand. As I continue to shop for produce, I quickly notice the pasta salads and deli meat that jump out and try to grab my attention, along with the array of sushi that I so often buy. Making my way around the produce and deli section, I arrive at the yogurts and milk then continue on to the frozen meal aisle. The way they have it set up is marketed intentionally for college students. The pop aisle is right next to the cold alcoholic beverages which are also right next to the bottle water and energy drinks. It is pretty convenient to make a one stop shop in only a matter of a couple aisles. There are promotions daily for buy one get one or so many dollars for so many items. Carrying on my way, I stroll past the magazines and the cougar gear that always catches my attention whether it be a Vogue magazine or cute Cougar slippers. Finally as I am done shopping and ready to check out, the marketing strategy, point of purchase, habitually lures me into buying candy, gum or some sort of drink. This tool that almost every grocery store I have visited has, adds a little something extra to one’s cart. As I leave the store, I notice a Redbox machine. This makes it very convenient to rent movies while going grocery shopping. The geography of choices available to college students are geared towards certain products. You can definitely tell the target market when you first step through those automatic doors.

 Secondly, as I visit home, the way grocery stores lay out products is much different than the way they arrange products in a college town. I notice as I walk into Safeway in Gig Harbor that they market and promote flowers and produce first. As I continue to walk by the next thing I see is the natural/ health food area. I begin to think, why do they arrange products this way? I came up with, they do this because Gig Harbor is for the most part, a pretty well off town with the majority of ages being over 40. High income, elderly people usually care more about what they eat and that being more organic foods promoted to them. As I continue to shop along, towards the back of the store I notice the bakery.  I also notice that the milk is on the back wall, which brings up what we discussed in class about how milk is usually a staple item for many households and companies usually put milk in the back so they have to walk through everything else first. But one thing that Safeway in Gig Harbor does is puts the wine and alcoholic beverages by their deli/ Chinese takeout area. I’m not sure why they do that, you would think they would put it next to the items that market 40 and older. I guess I can assume that they do this because they are trying to market the younger ages over 21 that might usually have less healthier diets.  The company might think that since they are buying beer or any kind of alcohol, they might be hungry later and want to buy some junk food at the same time also.

 Having visited two different stores in two different locations, there is a definite line about who their target market and demographics are geared towards.  Both stores know where to place products and who demands what type of product.  So for college consumers, it is easy to shop at a store like Dissmore’s and for the high income, elderly, it is easy to shop at a store like Safeway.

Extra Credit Blog

2 Nov


Asorbic Acid –> Fresh Gourmet Seasoned Croutons

Baking Powder –> Homemade Cookies

Caramel –> Coca Cola

Cellulose –> Squash

Citric Acid –> Heinz Canned Tomatoes

Corn Flour –> Kashi TLC Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bar

Corn Oil –> Pop Secret Popcorn

Cornstarch –> Jello Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding

Corn Syrup –> Fiber One Oats & Chocolate Bar

Diglycerides –> Jello Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding

Ethyl Acetate –> Heinz Vinegar

Fructose –> Fiber One Oats & Chocolate Bar

Fumaric Acid –> Thomas English Muffins

Gluten –> Cup Noodles Chicken Flavor

High Fructose Corn Syrup –> Nabiso Nilla Wafers

Invert Sugar –> Wheat Thins

Maltodextrin –> Fiber One Oats & Chocolate Bar

Saccharin –> Sweet & Low Sweetner

Sorbic Acid –>Wine

Sorbitol –> Trident Chewing Gun

Starch –> Potatoes

Sucrose -> Sugar

Xanthan Gum –> Campbells Select Harvest Chicken w/ Veggie Soup

Xylithol -> Sugar Free Chewing Gum

Zein –> Maize