Agriculture

Farming

Then:

Waves of immigrant farmers and farm workers have found fertile growing conditions in the area.  

Waves of immigrant farmers and farm workers have found fertile growing conditions in the area. Agriculture has long been important to the local economy. Images like these by Dorothea Lange from the 1930s capture the multicultural workforce, still present in the region today. Now a multi-‐billion dollar industry, agriculture in the Santa Maria Valley produces everything from broccoli and strawberries, to avocados and wine grapes.

Now:

What makes this region so successful in agriculture? 

“We came as children; I was 9 years old when I came to live with my mom and dad.  My dad already worked in construction and my mom worked in the fields.  We went to school, but I did not obtain a higher degree, because I didn’t have the educational support. I also went to work in the fields, because though fieldwork was hard, it bridged my need for community and I met a lot of people. I truly enjoyed being around and above all, I felt welcomed. My family has left a heritage of hard work, commitment, an understanding of extended family time and having dinner together, dependability, community building, acceptance of differences, love, and a dream for a better future of opportunity for our children and an acceptance of new ideologies. We built a community for my children in which they felt nurtured, loved and in time went on to complete their college degree.”

—Margarita Aguirre

Farm in Guadalupe
Guadalupe Field Worker