Farm Workers at Work: Root Crops, Cotton, Hay

Industrial Agriculture: Machines Take Over   In 1958, when Harvey Richards photographed farm workers in California’s central valley, California agriculture was undergoing a transformation from hand to machine work in many crops.  Not all crops, but certainly root crops and … Continue reading

Farm Workers at Work: Fruits and Vegetables

Industrial Farming from Hands to Machines, 1958-1964 In 1958, Harvey Richards toured the central valley of California photographing farming in many crops. This photo image gallery presents images of farming fruits and vegetables. As part of his filming for Factory … Continue reading

Mechanized Poison: Chemicals in California Agriculture 1958-65

Poisons in California Agriculture: A Capital Input for Profit Just as agribusiness in California turned to mechanization of planting, watering and harvesting to reduce labor costs and increase profits, so too did it turn to chemical pesticide poisons and fertilizers derived … Continue reading

Water in California Agriculture, 1958-1965

Water: A Capital Input for Agribusiness Profit Corporate agribusiness thinks of water as a capital input for their profit making enterprises. Most people think of a river meandering through green pastures, or a wild river roaring through wooded valleys as signs of the … Continue reading

Seeds and Mechanized Planting

Mechanized Planting: From Tending the Land to Tending Machines Before Monsanto’s patented, genetically modified seeds came into existence in the 1990’s and established legal barriers to prevent farmers from gathering seeds from their crops for planting next year, seed harvesting … Continue reading

Industrial Agriculture Shapes the Land

Land: A Blank Medium for Profits for Industrial Agriculture   Industrial agriculture’s first step is consolidation of the land into big farms. Then big machinery shapes the land so that large scale industrial agriculture can operate profitably. They call it … Continue reading

Child Labor in the Fields of California, 1958, 1962

Child Labor of All Races Child labor in the fields of California from 1958 to 1966 prevailed in crops where hand labor was dominant, which included crops like potatoes and carrots which were soon to be taken over by mechanized harvesting. … Continue reading

Farm Workers on Strike, 1959-1966

Harvey Richards photographed farm workers on strike from 1957 to 1966. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s farm workers went on strike many times in a seemingly futile effort to win higher wages and better conditions in a labor … Continue reading

California Farm Workers at Home, 1957-1965

Farm Workers at the Bottom California farm workers lived in substandard housing, in labor camps, mobile trailers, and sometimes on the banks of a river.  With bracero labor removing half or more of the jobs from California’s factory farms in … Continue reading

California Bracero Program in 1958

Photographing the California Bracero Program In 1958, the California bracero program sponsored by the U.S. government imported temporary contract laborers from Mexico under an agreement created during World War II. The California Bracero Program brought prosperity to growers and poverty to … Continue reading