CHASING THE HARVEST: MIGRANT WORKERS IN CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURE
Edited by Gabriel Thompson
The Grapes of Wrath brought national attention to the lives of California’s migrant farmworkers in the 1930s. César Chávez and the United Farm Workers’ grape and lettuce boycotts captured the imagination of the United States in the 1960s and 70s. Yet today, the stories of the more than 800,000 men, women, and children working in California’s fields—one third of the nation’s agricultural workforce—are rarely heard, despite the persistence of wage theft, dangerous working conditions, and uncertain futures. This book of oral histories makes more visible these farmworkers’ stories of hardship, but also of bravery, solidarity, and creativity in making a life in California’s fields, and earning greater opportunity for future generations.
MARICRUZ, a single mother fired from a packing plant after filing a sexual assault complaint against her supervisor.
ROBERTO, a vineyard laborer in the scorching Coachella Valley who became an advocate for more humane working conditions after his teenage son almost died of heatstroke.
OSCAR, an elementary school teacher in Salinas who wants to free his students from a life in the fields, the fate that once awaited him as a child.