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San Joaquin Valley Farm Workers Describe Working Conditions And Fears During Pandemic

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Celestino Mendoza-Soto picking garlic in Wasco, California.

Farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley are facing higher risks of contracting COVID-19 compared to non-agricultural industries, according to a new farmworkers study. That’s on top of dealing with extreme heat and pesticide exposure. 

Javier Vasquez, Hermelinda Benitez, Celestino Mendoza-Soto and Delfino commute from Madera to  Wasco, California to pick garlic for three dollars a bucket. They say it's a tough job that's not cut out for everyone, but without documentation it's the only option for many. Listen to the audio postcard above to hear them describe what it’s like to perform this essential work during a pandemic.

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