Valley Fever: Environmental Surviving in the San Joaquin Valley

Sarah M. Rios
UC Santa Barbara

This ethnographic study explores the everyday practices of Latino environmental activist and farmworkers to better understand how farmworkers resist environmental toxicity while negotiating other forms of social inequality, such as limitations from citizenship, employment, racism, and poverty. Of interests are the processes of excluding farmworkers in environmental decision making, historical processes of racial segregation, and farmworkers creative strategies in resisting degrading social and environmental resources. Recent studies examine how working-poor communities of color absorb greater proportions of environmental contamination and have primarily focuses on activism, racial inequality, and environmental justice. Few studies employ ethnography to understand how such communities cope with day to day survival while exposing environmental toxic assault.  This project examines this methodological gap using two communities in the San Joaquin Valley of California as field sites. Additionally, attorneys non-profit advocacy center in San Francisco California who directly with the selected farmworking communities were interviewed.