Episode 96: Lupe Gonzalo

We made this short film in Immokalee Florida (where 1/3 of the tomatoes in our grocery stores are grown). We spent a day with Lupe Gonzalo, a tomato picker and organizer for CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers). The Coalition is fighting to change the way our country’s tomato laborers are treated, as well as raise their wages by implementing a 1 penny per pound increase of picked tomatoes. Many companies (McDonalds, Trader Joe’s, Subway…to name a few) are working with CIW, but some are holding out (Chipotle). Please watch and share this short film about Lupe’s life. Most likely, there is a wonderful person just like her picking the tomatoes you buy at the grocery store.

  • http://twitter.com/kevinkossowan Kevin Kossowan

    Wow. That’s a moving story. One of the price tags associated with ‘cheap’ food, I’m guessing. Really well done. 

    • danielpklein

      thanks Kevin.

      • Mitchhensel

        Being from So. California I understand the struggle of the migrant workers and the need for them. That being said, they deserve a living wage,

  • Emil Tsao

    One of the more amazing and insightful videos you’ve made, Daniel.  Would love a blog post or something to share your own reflection on Lupe’s situation.   

    • danielpklein

      Thanks Emil – check out Mirra’s blog post: http://www.theperennialplate.com/blog/2012/03/the-other-side-of-the-tomato/

  • Jbcorson

    I am a faithful viewer of your videos.  This one really touched me.  Well done.  

  • David

    A lot of the youngsters in the UK wouldn’t dream of getting out of bed to work for $20-30 a day for hard graft …………..they want all there benefits handed to them on a plate for free,and soon moan if their money doesn’t arrive once a fortnight.Perhaps I could ship a few thousand out to Lupe to give her a hand. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/feistess Nancy Feist

    That took care of my Chipotle craving.  All they’re asking for is a penny a pound. I think that’s more than worth it. 

  • atlanticplace

    I don’t get it, isn’t Chipotle supposed to be ahead of the curve on this stuff? Weren’t they portrayed as one of the “good guys” in Food Inc. ?

  • Foody 2 and Oliver

    Once again you and Mirra give a face, pulse, heart to those impacted by this injustice.

  • http://twitter.com/ColonelMcNair S McNair

    Wow, really moving video. Great job.

    I’ve seen conflicting info online about whether Chipotle is paying fair prices. Do you have any data/evidence on it? I can’t imagine Chipotle holding out, given that they already pay high prices for all of their produce.
    Here’s one I found. http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2009/09/chipotle_and_the_ciw_end_the_t.php

    • danielpklein

      I believe Chipotle claims to be paying the $1 more per pound, but still refuses to work with CIW. I see it as a failure to work with an organization that is important in the fight for food justice. Also, we need governing bodies, you can’t expect a company to always follow the rules.

  • GrumpyG

    I’ve been with you guys since Minnesota and this is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing.

  • Beth

    great job on this video and a moving portrait of an immigrant worker.   Workers like her deserve to be fairly paid and valued, not just as workers , but as human beings with inherent worth and dignity.  We are all God’s children.

  • Myfoodmom

    Chipotle is owned by McDonalds.

    • danielpklein

      no it isn’t, years ago it was

  • http://twitter.com/ColonelMcNair S McNair

    No Chipotle was initially partially owned by McDonalds thru a series of investments. McDonald’s completely sold off its shares years ago

  • John Eby

    Great piece,Danny. Lupe’s work is difficult .There is something very noble  in her hard work,and personal sacrifice of living apart from her family to send money home to them so they can have a better life.

    We are in Guatemala now,where Lupe Gonzalo is from, and see everyday the hard work and difficult existence of the agricultural workers here. For the thousands of immigrant farmers working in difficult situations in the US,there are tens of thousands working hard for maybe $10-15.00 a day here in Guatemala.Their living conditions are very poor- no electricity, earth floors and metal shacks in the rural areas. 

    John Eby 

  • Alissa Fasman

    I found this interview with Lupe Gonzalo via twitter and really appreciate what you are doing with this series, but you undermine your message with the music.  It’s unnecessarily manipulative for a story that is powerful enough and it needs a better mix.  That said, really liked the piece and think you are doing important work. 

  • Pingback: Florida Tomatoes Pickers | Michael Ruhlman

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1091295196 Daphne Mines

    So, why are the more expensive places holding out working with CIW?  Chipotle and Publix should be ashamed.