The following essay and images are excerpted with permission from The Migrant Project: Contemporary California Farm Workers, an iconic photo-documentary series shot by Rick Nahmias in 2002-03 and later published as a monograph.
Each morning, as early as 2 a.m., these women travel from Mexicali to the Calexico Port of Entry. They wait to board work buses that transport them as far as 75 miles north for their work in the cantaloupe fields of California’s Imperial Valley. Women comprise about 21 percent of America’s farmworker labor force.Photo: (C) Rick Nahmias/themigrantproject.com
When envisioning California, most people conjure images of a warm, sea-sprayed coastline, redwood forests, the opulence of Beverly Hills, or the magic of Hollywood. It is easy to forget the farmland.
But California’s leading industry is actually agriculture, which provides about 50 percent of the produce consumed in this country, amassing $32 billion in annual cash revenue. To put this in perspective, this state’s earthly output is well over three times the combined annual domestic box-office receipts of the entire U.S. motion picture ind... Read more