April 5, 2014

100,000 Pounds of Tomatoes: Food fight Anyone? ~ Jennifer Moore


Wasting Food is a sin.

At least it was in my family growing up. “Take all you want; eat all you take” was repeated at every meal. We were taught that food is a precious resource and we have a responsibility to conserve our resources. So the idea of taking 100,000 lbs. of ripe tomatoes and having a food fight is absurd—even offensive.

Checking emails I noticed an announcement, courtesy of Living Social, to buy discounted tickets to participate in Tomato Blast Chicago in 88 days. I visited their website to see what the event is all about. Their tagline: Part Tomato Fight. Part Tomato Festival. All Parts Fun!  Tomato Blast is all about fun.

But fun has a cost. In this case that cost is $49.99/ participant and $24.99/ spectator. And the food waste cost… According to the USDA Nation Fruit & Vegetable Report on March 28, 2014, the average price/ lb. of ripe tomatoes is $1.99. Which puts the cost of 100,000 lbs. of tomatoes at $199,000; add to that the energy expenditure to transport those 100,000 lbs. of tomatoes to Chicago.

Modeled after La Tomatina Festival in Buñol, Italy (dating back to 1944 or 1945, no one knows for sure). No one knows for sure why this festival in Italy started either; I am guessing alcohol had something to do with it. Americans love to copy—from brilliant innovations to the most absurd and wasteful activities.

The notion of conservation is not as popular as the notion of fun.

Some food waste facts:


Chicago is a city of possibilities for fun, good food and mindful activities.

If you are like me and looking for fun with a purpose, here are five organizations to check out in Chicago:

1. Chicagocriticalmass.org – Ride bikes the last Friday of every month (elefavorite).

2. Openlands.org – Get out in nature.

3. Chicagoenvironment.org – Find conservation activities and events.

4. Urbanhabitatchicago.org – Learn sustainable practices for urban living.

5. Goodfoodfestivals.com – Connect with local farmers and food.

Imagine all the mindful, socially responsible ways we could use 100,000 lbs. of tomatoes.

If fun is the objective and food fight is the vehicle of choice, let’s throw fast food. Big Mac Blast ? Maybe McDonald’s would like to sponsor. At least then we wouldn’t be wasting food.

Throwing tomatoes in the theatre is reserved for bad performances—very fitting.

“All the world is a stage.” ~ William Shakespeare


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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Jennifer Moore/ screenshot


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