Did you know that more than 400 commodities are grown in the state of California? This accounts for over a third of the country’s vegetables and nearly three-quarters of the fruits and nuts, including 90% of the nation’s strawberries. Each October, we celebrate California Farmer and Farmworker Month to honor our state’s hardest workers and their commitment to feeding the nation and the world.
California strawberries are known as a crop of opportunity and have been cultivating opportunities for Latinos and generations of immigrants. Strawberry fields have historically provided opportunities for strawberry pickers, truck drivers and supervisors to advance to management positions and even farm ownership. A quarter of California strawberry farmers started out as field workers and more than 75% of the strawberry workforce, including management and field workers, are Latino.
Farming has always been challenging, and farmers must be resilient in the face of problems ranging from pests and diseases to bad weather. Growing strawberries is hard work, it takes time, patience and a willingness to work long days in the fields. It’s a labor of love that, for many, has been going on for generations.
Alma Garcia came from Mexico at the age of 15 and now runs a family-owned strawberry business with her four children. Through strawberry farming, her dream of owning her own business and watching her children become successful in theirs has come true. Watch Alma’s story.
Alejandro Ramirez came to California in search of the American dream and found it in a strawberry field. His dream of owning his own business was made possible and he looks forward to leaving this legacy to his son one day. Watch Alejandro’s story.
Bianey Medina is a strawberry picker whose parents immigrated from Mexico to work in the strawberry fields. Her parents’ dedication and hard work have helped them move into management positions and inspired Bianey to work toward her American Dream of becoming a strawberry farmer. Watch Bianey’s story.
Antonia Cruz brought her parents to America from Mexico in search of a better life. As a strawberry farmworker, Antonia loves what she does and has been given opportunities to learn, grow and succeed. Her hope is to pass that success on to her children by sending them to college. Watch Antonia’s story.