Chasing the Harvest

Chasing the Harvest:Migrant Workers in California Agriculture

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The lives of one of America's invisible communities--migrant farmworkers

More than a million men, women, and children work in American agriculture, and yet their stories are rarely told, their low-wage jobs are not included in minimum-wage ordinances or campaigns, and their work remains unorganized by labor unions. This book of oral histories restores to visibility these workers, by telling stories of hardship but also bravery, solidarity, and improvisation in California's farm fields. The majority of American produce is picked in California, while workers there face wage theft and sexual harassment, pesticide exposure and lack of healthcare, the struggle to find affordable housing, and the special risks endured by the undocumented--as many as half of all farmworkers. The book also tells the story of a new generation of labor activists, who are pressing for a national Bill of Rights for farmworkers.

Reviews

  • The voices are defiant and nuanced, aware of the human complexities that spill across bureaucratic categories and arbitrary borders.

    Siddartha DebThe Baffler
  • A deeply moving tribute to the lives of the California farm workers, and their journey from Mexican villages into the cruel machinery of American agribusiness.

    Hector Tobar, author of Deep Down Dark
  • Cumulatively, these portraits form a nuanced mosaic of life in the fields—the good, the bad, the mundane, the tragic and the heroic.

    Miriam Pawel, author of The Crusades of Cesar Chavez