Who grows your food?

Compiled by Charis

Here are some voices from the fields where much of our food is produced, in this case, the farms near Salinas, California. These farmworkers are from various parts of Mexico and primarily work producing lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries. The fear of deportation has hit their community hard and we heard some workers are staying home on days when immigration raids are rumored.

They were asked “What do you want consumers to know about you and your work?” and these are some of their answers:


Elena: I wish people took into consideration the work that we do. For example, this president talks about the undocumented, but doesn’t talk about farm workers because everyone actually needs us to do this job. Americans might try it but won’t last a week. Working in an office or McDonald’s is much better than working in the fields. People say the undocumented are stealing jobs but they won’t do this work. I’ve never seen anyone else but Latinos/Central Americans in the fields. No one else. There’s no option but to increase wages.

Lupe: We all need a job to survive, but those bosses, what would they do if we decided not to work? In this company they don’t want to let the lettuce rot because there weren’t enough workers. I would like to ask that boss [by this she means a farm manager we had talked to earlier] “what would you do if every worker stayed home for one week?” They would lose more than we do.

Miguel: They should know how we work and work to make food come to their tables with a lot of love and sweat on our faces.

Rosa: People see the lettuce in their sandwich and think how yummy it is going to be, but they don’t think about the work to produce that lettuce.

Carlos: It all depends on Mexicans, even though they don’t want us. If we don’t work any more, who is going to cut and pack?

Maria: Latino people are the ones who work in the fields.

Pedro: There should be someone who films a commercial about us and shows it nationwide, like during the Superbowl, and also put people like us in the commercial. We would like to see people like you be the one to start it, since you have taken the interest and the first steps to try and help.

Antonio: Before buying, we should take into consideration how hard it is to make that produce possible to buy. Don’t throw any away! You may think it doesn’t matter because it only cost a dollar, but it isn’t just the price, it is the life of the worker.

Jose: If I had a magic wand I would give every person who actually works an opportunity.


These are excerpts from interviews that were conducted as part of a UC Berkeley class applying human centered design to food topics (Eat.Think.Design!),