This photo text project reflects migrant women's labor and life in agribusiness in Tulare County, California Central Valley, USA. These images are from a ten year period of work. Words from women's lives comprise the text.

Tulare County is the number one citrus and industrialized dairy county in North America. Other crops are grown and harvested in great abundance. It is petrochemical based agribusiness. The conditions of work and life are ones that accompany industrialization.

Labor in the California Central Valley is a migrant based labor force. Historically, and continuing to the present, the majority of migrants come from three Mexican provinces. Of these three, it appears that the majority of the migrants in the California Central Valley are from Michoacan. Statistics on the 50 to 60 percent of migrants that are without papers makes it difficult to speak with absolute assuredness. Illiteracy rates of the same proportion compound the issue.

Significant numbers of women migrants arrived in North America during The Bracero Period of the 1950s. Women left the ranchos and pueblos, crossed the border, joined the men, worked, created families and settled. This pattern has continued to the present.

This project on work raises a number of gender focused questions: What Type of labor women do in agribusiness? Does it differ from women's labor in traditional agricultural production? What are the changes in the domestic work of women that accompany industrialized production?

This body of work has been informed by women participants in the Migrant Photography Project, a non-governmental 501 (c) 3 organization I founded and work with as Executive Director. The California Council of the Humanities, an agency funded by the State of California, and the National Endowment for the Humanities provided monies for the final phase of this work.

Saundra Sturdevant
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