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Infographic Following the Fruits of a Romantic Date …

First dates require a special touch, such as a bouquet of flowers, luscious strawberries, or a bottle of fine wine.

But what about the people and places that harvested those crops before the date? How do they fare?

The Strawberry

Strawberry and milk.
Photo by David Melchor Diaz

Before you take a bite of that delicious strawberry, you may want to wash it.

After all, if it's not organic, it most likely was placed directly, without cleaning, into the green plastic container you brought it home in.

Prior to planting, growers cover the soil with tarps and fumigate using toxic chemicals.

The chemicals will kill most living organisms that may eat or tarnish the berries.

Workers have been poisoned when exposed to the fumigants, which is why Earthjustice has fought—successfully—to ban some of the most toxic chemicals used.

Bouquet with ferns.
Vicuschka / Shutterstock

The Fern

Seen in many a beautiful bouquet, the sturdy green fern frond is a florist's favorite.

But they're also popular with mites, mold and even snakes, because they're grown in such a warm, damp environment.

Large amounts of pesticides are commonly used to keep pests at bay.

Unfortunately, these pesticides are also toxic to workers, who labor year-round in screened-in ferneries.

Each worker will hand-pick hundreds of bunches of ferns a day, for 23 cents per bunch.

Pouring a glass of red wine.
Gago Image / iStockphoto

The Wine Grape

The romance and allure of fine wines don't often bring to mind hard labor and toxic chemicals, but many of the same labor issues Cesar Chavez brought to the nation's attention still exist in today's vineyards.

Each year, more than 26 million pounds of chemicals are used on wine grape vines in California, which produces 90% of all wine in the country.

Sulfur is by far the most widely used pesticide and has been responsible for hundreds of pesticide poisonings.

Although big wine-grape growers harvest fruit mechanically, higher-end operations harvest by hand, employing thousands of seasonal workers.

For their efforts, farmworkers are typically paid between 1¢ and 5¢ per pound of grapes picked.  

A healthy, safe, and fair food system would protect us all and safeguard the health and economic needs of farmworkers, farmers, communities and consumers. Earthjustice is working to ensure the strongest protections are put in place. But we can’t do it alone.