About the Series

 

Pastures of Plenty is a four-part radio series exploring the lives of farm workers in California from Statehood to the present. California is the top-producing agricultural state in the U.S., and as such, relies heavily on manual labor to feed the nation and the world. But who are those people bent over the rows? We usually see them from a distance. This series brings them up close. Through oral histories of workers and their descendants, historians, and archival audio, we hear about how lives were built, and some times broken, in the fields of California.

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The history of California farm workers is also the history of immigration and migration. From the Chinese and Japanese of the 1800’s, to the Mexican workers of today, their story is bigger than picking peas, or loading apples. California is Ellis Island of the West, and as such, can tell us something about how we as a nation accommodate new arrivals. By understanding the history of farm workers and their struggles, we can begin to reconnect with how we might grow our food in a way that preserves human dignity.