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Health challenges faced by Mixtec farmworkers in Ventura County

Health challenges faced by Mixtec farmworkers in Ventura County

Picture of Hannah Guzik

California supplies most of the nation’s strawberries, and more strawberries are grown in Oxnard than in any other place in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But what most consumers don’t know is that many of the strawberries grown in the Oxnard Plain are picked by Mixtecs who face slum living conditions, back-breaking labor, regular pesticide exposure and limited access to healthcare.

These are just some of the health challenges indigenous Mexicans face in Ventura County — problems that the average consumer doesn’t think about when biting into a strawberry from Oxnard. I’d like to change that.

I'm working on an article for the Ventura County Star on the health challenges faced by the Mixtec community in Ventura County.

This project is made possible through the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship, which begins Sunday. I'm honored to participate in the fellowship and work on this project.

I attended a community meeting organized by the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project tonight. More than 200 adults and nearly as many children packed an elementary school cafeteria in Oxnard to learn about reducing their exposure to pesticides, plan for an upcoming immigration-reform march and receive bags of food and diapers.

I look forward to attending more meetings in the coming months and conducting interviews for this project. 

Image by benketaro via Flickr


Picture of <span class="username">Guest (not verified)</span>

Hi Hannah, I am the student health center coordinator and nurse practitioner at Oxnard College. I am also a doctoral candidate in nursing studying vulnerable populations. I would really like to find out more about Mixteco health problems locally. If there is any chance we can chat please contact me at the above email.
thank you

Picture of <span class="username">Guest (not verified)</span>

Hi Deanna,

Your email address isn't showing up, but you can email me at and I'd be happy to help you if I can. Thanks!

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Are you a journalist who wants your work to make a difference?  Apply now for our all-expenses-paid National Fellowship, which provides reporting grants of $2,000 to $10,000 to 20 journalists from around the country (and community engagement grants of up to $2,000 for five), plus six months of expert mentoring.  Deadline: March 23.


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