Here in southern France we see the Spanish lorries racing along the motorway taking salad produce from the south of Spain to northern European supermarkets, as well as our own shops and markets in the Languedoc, using up the earth’s resources to satisfy shoppers’ need for out-of-season vegetables. There are many arguments against this industry, to do with pollution, water and energy conservation as well as humanitarian concerns. Year-round fresh salads – tomatoes, lettuces, peppers – may seem like an affordable luxury, almost a necessity even, these days, but they come at great human cost to the workers who grow them in the polythene-covered acres of once dry land in southern Spain.
On the Guardian website today there’s a report by Felicity Lawrence about the poverty, deprivation and terrible living conditions experienced by immigrant workers from Africa, who now find themselves without even the low-paid work they used to have and are unable to return home because they cannot afford it. These people, when they can find work, are paid much less than the minimum wage and cannot complain because of their unofficial status in Europe. As the activist interviewed at the end of the film puts it, we should refuse to buy produce that results from this form of exploitation.
The video lasts for over 12 minutes, but it’s worth watching to see another side of ‘holiday’ Spain. Here’s the link: tp://gu.com/p/2md95
And then we should all avoid those plastic-packed, unnaturally perfect-looking Little Gem lettuces and eat locally grown, seasonal food.