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COVID-19 Affects Farmworkers’ Livelihood in the San Joaquin Valley

Ezra David Romero / KVPR

The spread of COVID-19 is forcing many people to work from home, but for farmworkers that’s not an option.  

Take Eucebia and Alejandro; the couple asked to go by their first names only. They have three kids and no savings. In the past two weeks, they’ve been asked to leave two picking jobs, first in almonds, then in grapes. The second job at Fowler Packing only lasted two days before the contractor told them to leave.

“She said that there wasn't going to be any work, that everything had been canceled,” Eucebia said. 

Eucebia said the contractor told her production had slowed because the company isn’t shipping as much produce due to the coronavirus. It’s been a week since Eucebia and her husband have been able to find work.


“We don’t have any other option except to work. But right now that we aren’t working, we are worried because we don't know where we are going to get the money,” Eucebia said.  

They'll keep looking for work, Eucebia said, but so far they haven’t found it. Fowler Packing did not immediately respond to phone calls.


Madi Bolanos covered immigration and underserved communities for KVPR from 2020-2022. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border.