The Tomato Man is Aziz Ansari of Watson, Minnesota. He has been growing food for poor people using intense methods of his own devising. He has been attacked by members of the city government who are trying to shut him down. They have used vaguely worded ordinances and an “I say so” attitude. It is alleged that their real reasons involve racism and fear of “the different.” Aziz told the Mayor of Watson on March 10th. 2009, that on the web site it speaks of local governments who are enforcing laws which become a hindrance in growing food, even though these laws were at a cross roads in the City of Watson, He was by no stretch of imagination implying that the City Of Watson or its Council was against growing food for poor people, and that he was speaking to a wider audience, and told the Mayor to the effect that all laws on the books no matter where they may be, Alabama or Arizona, these laws which become an obstacle in growing food should be struck down, He made it very clear to the Mayor that just like breathing within city limits does not require any special permission or permit from local government(s), similarly he invisions a day when all laws will be struck down when it comes to growing food and that people would not be afraid of shortsighted laws, they have an inherent right to grow food, especially when so many cities in North America are facing food insecurities and children going hungry to bed. The Mayor agreed with him and nodded his head in affirmation. Aziz has invited the Mayor of Watson to join him in this campaign to make all laws subordinate to our inherent and fundamental right to grow food on our properties and by taking a lead in this direction and starting from Watson, Minnesota.
Sadly, the sort of problems Aziz is running into are no more unique than the problems he is working to solve.
In 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, approximately 38 million people were eligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program. About 65 percent of these actually participated, a rate that has increased by 16 percent since 2001. In 2007, an average of 26.5 million people used food stamps each month,
The U.S. Conference of Mayors reports that in 2006 requests for emergency food assistance increased an average of 7 percent. The study also found that 48 percent of those requesting emergency food assistance were members of families with children and that 37 percent of adults requesting such assistance were employed. Unemployment, high housing costs, poverty or lack of income, and high medical costs led the list of reasons contributing to the rise.
FEBURARY 2009: 31.8 MILLION PEOPLE ON FOOD STAMPS, AN ALL TIME HIGH
As George McGovern said in 1972, “To admit the existence of hunger in America is to confess that we have failed in meeting the most sensitive and painful of human needs. To admit the existence of widespread hunger is to cast doubt on the efficacy of our whole system.”
There is almost no attention to the fact that the U.S. has by far the highest level of food insecurity among industrialized Western nations. Some 36.2 million Americans, including 12 million children, live in households that can’t afford enough food.
America’s Children are Hungry: While studies show that food insecurity and hunger have been tied closely to chronic disease development and impaired psychological and cognitive functioning in children, 13 million children live in US households that must skip meals or eat less due to economic constraints.
Concerned Americans should raise their voices against the dead hand of the past, against the voices of fear and xenophobia. We must change outdated and vague laws and ordinances. We must oust bureaucrats and elected officials if they stand as an obstacle to feeding the poor. We must increase the capacity and will to grow more food in our back yards, front yards, side yards or even on our roof tops if that’s what it takes. If these faulty, inhumane laws will not help in feeding the hungry, get rid of them, don’t let them be your masters.
Across North America. We need to help the Tomato Man so in future it will be our inherent right to grow food without any fear of violating dumb laws and being bullied by short-sighted local governments. Call or write to your congress person that we need to change absurd zoning and “appearance” laws so we can feed the poor. Citizens need all the help they can get to get rid of the ugly face of hunger, we don’t need restrictions. Help us in raising funds for legal defense for the Tomato Man and others like him: Contribute to the JUSTICE FOR TOMATO MAN legal fund at Prairie Sun Bank of Milan, PO Box 200, Milan, MN. (320) 734-4444 You can help by sending money for the legal defense fund, Spread the word by emailing this letter to all your contacts, posting this letter at your work or other places, Call your State and local representatives, let’s help each other to feed our children in particular and people in general. For Suggestions and comments please send e-mails to
or write to
Backyard Food Shelf
212 South 2nd Street
Watson, Minnesota, 56295
Don't believe anything they say.
And at the same time,
Don't believe that they say anything without a reason.