Are Tomato Battles Wasteful?

So nobody invited me to one of the many Tomato Battles sweeping the West Coast?? They must have known better.

These organized tomato fights a la La Tomatina seem like a lot of things: derivative, debaucherous, messy and fun. The real question–is it a big ol’ waste of tomatoes?

The group addresses the question on their FAQ page and dismisses it with a single word: “Nope.”

I am suspicious.

The FAQ page continues: the tomatoes “are past ripe and can’t be sold. They are inedible and are not fit for human consumption.” But those are often two different things. I’d bet many of the tomatoes used in battle would be perfectly fine to be used by soup kitchens to make…soup or a range of other things.

My overall reaction is that Tomato Battles are relatively harmless, albeit a bit lame on a few levels. To gather all those young people without taking advantage of the opportunity in any way, seems like the real waste. Gleaning is one idea, but there’s an even easier one that I can’t believe the organizers haven’t implemented: donating a portion of the proceeds to fight hunger. At $50 a head, seems like there’s plenty of room for generosity. How ’bout it, Tomato Battle?

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