This is a nice piece, pointing out that farmworkers in California are always desperately poor and saying what cannot be said too often: using farmworkers as cover for political bargaining after exploiting them for decades is fucking shameful, both in the sense that it is a terrible shame, and in the sense that the assholes who implemented it have earned their place in hell. If someone who organized the Latino Water Coalition happens by, I hope you know that decent people are disgusted by you. If someone from United Farmworkers or California Rural Legal Assistance happens by, all my respect for your good and solid work.
I do want to say something else, a side comment on this:
Food aid is rolling in to the breadbasket of California. In Fresno County, the state’s most productive agricultural area, a hunger crisis has been unfolding for the better part of a year.
Yeah, Fresno is one of the nation’s breadbaskets, but in the best of times, with every acre planted and watered, it isn’t like farmworkers would eat food from their surroundings. Sure, the county produces a lot, but if you’re picking in the middle of 600 acres of tomatoes, it isn’t like you would get your next meal from the agriculture around you. These aren’t picturesque Amish farms with bulging gardens. They’re monocultures all the way to the field on the horizon, where the lines change angles. Farmworkers in Mendota get their food from stores even when the district bursts with almonds and melons. The difference in this drought and recession is that farmworkers don’t have jobs to buy food; not that their former garden of Eden is parched by drought. Mendota is living the tragedy of a factory shut-down, not failed food production.