About Me

  Patricia Hammell Kashtock

Aka: Pat Kashtock. Mother of three, wife of one. BA in Social Work and Biblical Studies. Graduate work at Virginia Tech interrupted, then derailed by oldest child’s brain tumor...

My life has not followed the course I planned. But I am not complaining. Pain is to be expected in a world broken apart from its Creator.

The miracle resides in the ability to find joy when least expected...


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For What It's Worth

Each life is a journey. The voices of many guides try to direct us, saying, “This is the path – walk in it!” Yet each one leads in a different direction.

I believe only one Voice can be true. That Voice will lead us in ways most unexpected, into worlds yet undiscovered. It will lead us up the hill, around the river and through the forest. And sometimes, it will lead without mercy.

Or so it seems.

I have made listening for that Voice and following it, my life’s quest. I will share some of what I have heard that Voice say with you. But I am not in the business of telling people how to think or what to believe. Each has to decide for himself. Only you can decide if you find the truth of the Voice in these words. And only you can decide how much it is worth to know the Voice, and follow.

But for me, it is worth the whole world.

And then some…

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« Your Voice Is Needed to Ensure U.S. Fights Slavery | Main | Not Noah »

Tomato Slavery

Tomatoes from the local farmer's market, blanched and ready to peelI am disheartened. I knew about slavery on the Ivory Coast in the cocoa groves, slavery in rice mills, on coffee plantations, domestic slavery. But on tomato farms?

I grew up in New Jersey, a state known for its bright-tasting summer grown tomatoes. Families grew tomatoes and sweet corn on their truck farms and sold them at stands on the roadside of the property. Pride would fill the young seller’s face as he or she told you, “Corn was picked in the hour,” thus guaranteeing its sweetness.

Nestled next to the corn, the tomatoes shown in red glory, begging you to slice and salt them, then bite into their juicy goodness. Wholesomeness all the way around.

Then I read the article in WaPo yesterday. When I first saw the header for the continuation of the article, I thought it was a food joke along the lines of tomatoes tasting so wonderful they hold the writer in slavery.

Not the case.

The header was for Jane Black’s  synopsis/review of Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland. Right here on the east coast, four states away, men tricked into slavery harvest tomatoes to sell in the US.

In Jane Black’s own words,

“Lucas Mariano Domingo came to the United States from Guatemala hoping to find a job that would pay him enough to send money home. But he was soon broke and homeless. And so it must have seemed like a lucky break when Cesar Navarrete, leader of a Florida tomato-picking crew, offered him false papers, room, board and a job that, if he did well, could earn him $200 a week.

It quickly became clear, however, that this was a false opportunity. Domingo was lodged with three other men in the back of a box truck with no running water or toilet. Food was scarce. Navarrete charged extortionate fees for just about everything. After a hot day in the fields, Domingo was docked $5 to stand naked in the back yard and wash himself with cold water from a garden hose. He was paid irregularly and in small, arbitrary amounts. Worse, Navarrete warned that Domingo or any other laborer who attempted to leave would be severely beaten. It took Domingo nearly three years to escape — and even longer before members of the Navarrete family were charged with what Douglas Molloy, the chief assistant U.S. attorney in Fort Myers, Fla., described as “slavery, plain and simple.”

In the 21st century, such horror stories should be uncommon. But over the past 15 years, Florida law enforcement officers have freed more than 1,000 men and women who were held against their will and forced to work in the fields.”


Read the rest here:<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/barry-estabrooks-tomatoland-an-indictment-of-modern-agriculture/2011/04/11/AGei5rOH_story.html"> Barry Estabrook’s ‘Tomatoland,’ an indictment of modern agriculture </a>

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  • Source
    But Estabrook was not content to leave the story there. For him, that perfectly round, perfectly red grocery-store tomato came to represent everything that is wrong with industrial agriculture: the alarming use of fertilizers and pesticides; the relentless market pressure on workers and growers; and the laser-like focus on shipping, storage and shelf life, with predictably tasteless results. “Tomatoland” is more than the sad tale of one fruit’s decline from juicy summer treat to bland obligation
  • Response
    Fantastic Website, Keep up the great work. Thank you so much!
  • Response
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Reader Comments (1)

Hey,Wow!!It sounds great..I like it..Thank you so much for such contribution..Good work.

November 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlaurahill

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