A commodity change analysis.. Global Commodity Chain: The network of labor and production processes whose end result is a finished commodity. Global Commodity Chain Analysis Producer-driven commodity chains Buyer driven commodity chains Aztec word for tomato The “love apple” Campesinos Monoculture Polyculture (multi-cropping) The tomato originated as a wild plant in what is now Peru. The seeds were probably carried by birds north to Mexico. It was first domesticated by the Mayans and Aztecs. The fruit was named tomatl, which means something round and plump. For many years the tomato was used to feed families. Traditional agricultural practices were being used, they grew tomatoes in variety interplanting them with other crops and rotated crops from year to year. In the 16th Century the Spanish conquistadores took the tomatoes back to Europe with them. It has since been bred into hundreds of crossbreeds; the most common is the large round red version. In the 18th Century it was brought to Quebec and Louisiana by the French. Now the tomato is the most widely grown fruit in the Americas. The transformation of human labor into a commodity… The multinationals and the technology package NAFDA and Revolution Indigenous people have struggled for land for centuries especially after the Spaniards arrived, and forced them to work in mines and plantations. In the 1980’s Mexican neoliberal policies privatized communal land and encouraged foreign investment. In the 1990’s NAFTA increased agroexports. Since then campesinos from southern Mexico have migrated north to work as salaried labor for large agribusinesses. Some may still own land but the land has been degraded through endless cycles of fertilizer and pesticides. Now with large monocultural agribusinesses dominated the tomato production, the campesinos who work seasonally for theses companies cannot survive without also growing their own staple crops. Empaque Santa Rosa, a Mexican agribusiness, shows that the low wages of industrial agriculture are based on the assumption that workers will combine salaried work with subsistence agriculture. But for poor migrant farmers this becomes less possible because they need to move and then lose their access to usable land in their home state. There are few that maintain their subsistence farming. Barndt talked about a certain couple Tomasa and Pablo who maintained their subsistence knowledge and more environmentally sustainable practices by growing basic foods in plots on hillsides (milpas) outside their village, working in their cornfield after returning from picking tomatoes in large plantations. They may work double each day but it assures their survival and keeps traditional ways of farming alive alongside the industrialized practices. What do woman do in the modern production chain? What do men do? Tomatoes were the first fruit produced for export by Mexico, this happened in the late 1880’s. In the 1920’s in Sinaloa production intensified with the development of capitalist production. Mexican companies started to adopt the American industrial practices after WWI. The work was divided into smaller manageable units, and technology was being used that didn’t use physical force, which gave openings for females to get a job. By 1994 tomatoes accounted for 22.6 percent of the fruit and vegetable production in Mexico even though they took up only 3.5 % of the usable land. Due to monocultural and cash crops most of the varieties in tomatoes have been eliminated. 80% in this century alone. In Empaque Santa Rosa’s large greenhouses in Sinaloa young women plant seeds and cultivate them into seedlings; which later are planted around the country to be planted. At Empaque Santa Rosa the tomato workers usually begin picking at 7:30 A.M. stop for lunch at 10:30 and are finished by 2:30. (By this time the sun is unbearably hot) The pickers pick fast so that they can fill their quota of forty pails a day. They are only paid 28 pesos a day which was worth only $5 in 1997. Men, women and children all pick, but women pickers are generally more gentle so there is less damage to the crop. The men normally are stacking crates on flatbed trailers. What makes a perfect tomato? Where do the perfect ones go? What about all the rest? First the tomatoes are washed in 90% chlorinated water to remove the dirt, bacteria and pesticide residue then they are dried by blasts of warm air then they are coated with wax to keep the moisture in and the bacteria out. This also protects them from further breakdown during the long journey north, but beyond this it also give the tomato a wonderful shine that makes them more attractive to wholesalers and shoppers. The tomatoes can’t have any cracks, scars, or blemishes, and must be large, well-shaped, and firm. The domestic tomatoes are sent to big food terminals in Guadalajara and Mexico City where they are sold 1/3 of the price that they will draw. Mini-processing detours Trucking methods Borders Quality Pests Brokers/wholesalers The tomatoes going north are packed in cardboard boxes with Styrofoam or plastic dividers that hold the tomatoes in their place with “Mexican Tomatoes” written in English on the outside. Those destine for domestic consumption are packed without separators in wooden crates marked with the company’s Mexican label. The real bad ones are put in a truck and hauled out to be sold to local farmers as animal feed. Mexico ships Seven hundred thousand tons of tomatoes annually to the US and Canada. Their journey to those destinations may be delayed while company owners wait for prices in the US to rise so that they can be sold for more profit. Sometimes they are stored in refrigerated rooms at a temperature that keeps them from ripening too quickly. They could be in there for a few days up to a week. The tomatoes may be gassed with ethylene, the natural substance that causes ripening, so that the ripening process that is slowed down is now speeded up. The doors of the storage room are closed for 24 hours while the tomatoes are gassed. It is too dangerous for humans to inhale. Second rate tomatoes are sometime shipped to food processing plants. Santa Rosa for example supplies Del Monte with tomatoes for processing into canned tomatoes, ketchup or salsa. These products add to the frozen foods that are increasingly replacing fresh food in North America they are sometimes called “addedvalue” products…the added value is reflected in the price. How does weather affect tomato production? El Nino or Global warming If premature freeze does occur the tomato is worthless and causes the company economic losses, and they end the season prematurely which leaves many campesinos poor. The same is with too much rain. The changes in the weather are blamed on el nino. Global warming is accelerated by the emission of greenhouse gases, a culprit of this are the large trucks that transport the tomatoes. Hidden ecological costs The “ecological footprint” of green technic and global transportation systems Once passing the inspections the tomatoes are sent to warehouses. These warehouses are owned by exporters and brokers. Once the tomatoes reach the warehouse, they are stored there temporarily while the brokers sell them to wholesalers and retailers in the US and Canada. In example Loblaws Supermarkets in Ontario bring up 3 truckloads of tomatoes daily. It takes about 3 days for the trucks to get from Mexico to Canada. Migrant workers in American fields Designer supermarkets and the local tomato High tech tomatoes Homogenized tomatoes Appearance over taste In the summer, fewer tomatoes are imported from Mexico. What is imported? Migrant compensation…why is it advantagious for the Mexican laborer to “commute” to Canada? The high-tech corporate tomatoe mediates a complex relationship between the worker and the technology: the electronic devices that control pricing and inventory can also monitor the productivity of workers… Did you remember that the Big Mac doesn’t have tomatoes? Why? Given the roll the tomatoe plays in the “image” of McDonalds, it becomes clear that tomatoes and hamburgers are not just food, but symbols of a way of life…a mcdonalization of life. Homogenizing food production relates to food desire. Predictability and control are key factors. What suffers as a result of this process? Loblaws and donations Tax right offs for food banks, experimental farms, and personal donations at the cash register McDonalds “total life cycle” and waste Not only “organic” waste, but also “solid waste” in the form of cardboard… Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon are philosophers from the 17th Century. Descartes’ concept is that nature and culture are separate and spirit is separate from matter. Bacon’s concept has framed that nature not only is separate but as such to be conquered and subdued. Judith Soule and Jon Piper suggest that reductionist science have shaped modern agriculture-simplification, quantifications and objectivity as well as the conquering of nature. Vandana Shiva suggests that the world view of most Indigenous people incorporate an ecological perspective that considers human beings as part of nature and all of nature as self –generative and self organizing. The colonization by Europe of the Americas, Asia, and Africa framed land as “dead land and therefore manipulable” rather than “mother earth”.