The Farmworkers' Journey

The Farmworkers' Journey

The Farmworkers' Journey

The Farmworkers' Journey

Synopsis

Illuminating the dark side of economic globalization, this book gives a rare insider's view of the migrant farmworkers' binational circuit that stretches from the west central Mexico countryside to central California. Over the course of ten years, Ann Aurelia López conducted a series of intimate interviews with farmworkers and their families along the migrant circuit. She deftly weaves their voices together with up-to-date research to portray a world hidden from most Americans--a world of inescapable poverty that has worsened considerably since NAFTA was implemented in 1994. In fact, today it has become nearly impossible for rural communities in Mexico to continue to farm the land sustainably, leaving few survival options except the perilous border crossing to the United States. The Farmworkers' Journey brings together for the first time the many facets of this issue into a comprehensive and accessible narrative: how corporate agribusiness operates, how binational institutions and laws promote the subjugation of Mexican farmworkers, how migration affects family life, how genetically modified corn strains pouring into Mexico from the United States are affecting farmers, how migrants face exploitation from employers, and more. A must-read for all Americans, The Farmworkers' Journey traces the human consequences of our policy decisions.

Excerpt

This book grew out of a deep passion I have been experiencing for many years. It began as I read local newspaper articles and editorials about renewed farmworker abuse that often referred to farmworkers in an objectified manner, as if they were inanimate implements of their central valley California corporate agribusiness employers’ capital-intensive commercial farming processes.

Although I have no personal history of farmwork in California or elsewhere, this objectification struck a cord of intense dissonance. I viewed the dehumanized references as an affront to any fundamental rational perception of what it means to be a human being. the abuses portrayed were an insult to any standards of tolerable decency and civility. No one in a democracy should be devalued and objectified in this way.

As the articles appeared week after week, my indignation continued to grow. I recall discussing farmworker issues with a class of environmental science students during a lecture about food and agriculture. I questioned students about the appropriateness of the farmworker subjugation and objectification I had read about. Later, I realized that the energy of indignation I experienced must be harnessed and utilized constructively to improve the circumstances of California’s farmworkers. My solid commitment to assist farmworkers was born. the newly established Ph.D. program in environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, provided the avenue by which my allencompassing task of study and work with farmworkers began.

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