Modern Slavery and Winter Produce.

Via Barry Estabrook: if you're in the Northeast, you should make a point of going to the Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum as it tours over the next month. (Full schedule here.)

The museum is a project of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a workers-rights group that has been fighting for fair conditions for migrant labor for nearly 20 years. Housed in a box truck used to haul produce, the exhibit tells the story of slavery in the American agriculture industry. In the past decade, more than 1,000 slaves have been freed in Florida -- many of them in and around the town of Immokalee, near Naples -- but that number only reflects successfully prosecuted cases.

Estabrook, formerly of the now-folded Gourmet, wrote about the conditions of the Immokalee workers in a 2009 feature for the magazine. Ninety percent of the winter tomatoes consumed in the United States are cultivated in this Florida town. "When asked if it is reasonable to assume that an American who has eaten a fresh tomato from a grocery store or food-service company during the winter has eaten fruit picked by the hand of a slave, [Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas] Molloy said, 'It is not an assumption. It is a fact.'"

The Museum will be in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, and in New York Aug. 2-4. Also, do bookmark Estabrook's blog.

--Phoebe Connelly

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