The population of the Central Valley, a basin surrounded by mountains that once offered hope to migrants like the fictional Joads in the “The Grapes of Wrath,” today is about 80 percent Latino, and 92 percent of the migrant farm workers in the Valley are Latino.
Much of fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S. are grown here, and the soil has been decimated by agricultural activity – overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, manure from livestock. One result is a toxic soup of nitrates in the area’s drinking water.
When pumped up into people’s homes, the nitrates are so dangerous that people are known to get rashes when they shower. The [...]