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Nina Pullman



Monday 15th September 2014, 12:22 London

Tomato fight raises money for growers

The Dutch campaign to help growers hit by the Russian ban continues with a tomato fight in Amsterdam raising money for producers

Tomato fight raises money for growers

Getting sticky: The tomato fight took place yesterday (14 September)

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Funds from an organised tomato-throwing fight in Amsterdam yesterday will go to Dutch tomato producers affected by Russia’s imports ban.

The event, inspired by Spain’s annual “La Tomatina” festival in Bunol, saw hundreds of Dutch throw overripe tomatoes at each other in the city’s Dam Square, according to an Associated Press report.

Tickets to the one-hour fight cost €15 (around £12) each, and around 1,000 were sold, AP reported.  

Organiser Joep Verbunt told the news outlet that proceeds will go to tomato growers hurt by the sanctions.

The event was staged as Dutch fruit and vegetable producers launched an "impuslse" campaign aimed at stimulating domestic consumption of home-grown produce, to absorb surplus affected by Russia’s ban. The ‘Samen Sterk’ campaign was seen by 1.1 million Dutch people during its first two weeks, and has been supported by retailers, chefs and members of the public.  

Set up as a protest against Russia’s ban on EU food imports, the tomato-throwing bonanza took place in specially-fenced off arena with music playing from a podium. Brave tomato-throwers wore white to start with and used swimming goggles to protect their eyes.

The fun began after participants counted down from 10 to zero and a shipping container of 120,000 outgrade tomatoes was emptied into the arena, AP said.

According to organisers, the leftover tomato residues will be cleaned and sent to a biogas production facility.

“It was beautiful,” one participant, Dennis de Jong, told the news website. “They have to do this every year.”

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