Another purchase to reconsider: Tomatoes
Do you have tomatoes growing in your garden? If not, get yourself to the garden store, because after you read this, you'll never want to eat a tomato that you didn't pick yourself again.Windowsill veggies for $200
The Atlantic has an excerpt of Barry Estabrook's new book Tomatoland, and it's enough to put you off the red fruit until you ripen up. The book is about the history of the tomato, where it comes from and how it's grown now. It's about pesticides and herbicides and industrial agriculture practices that are about as far from a little plant in your backyard as you can get.
The excerpt, however, isn't about the chemicals or the genetic modification; it's about the people who are paid ("paid") to pick them. Latino migrant workers are slave laborers in Florida's tomato fields, living in the back of box trucks, and owing their bosses so much in charged expenses (like showers from a hose) that come payday, their checks are nonexistent. It's a quick read, but it's sickening. Let this book be another testament of the importance of paying attention to where our food and purchases come from, and then voting for good practices with our dollars.
And in case you're interested, it's not too late to plant your own tomatoes. Check out Donna Freedman's guide to container gardening with a budget in mind.