Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Laborers load broccoli at a farm in Vista Hermosa, Michoacan. Broccoli is not typically featured in Mexican cuisine, so much of the harvest is exported to the U.S.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Workers wait to dump tomatillos into a cargo truck near the coastal pueblo of Teacapan, Sinaloa. Large, bright green tomatillos like these are favored by exporters.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Teenage migrant farmworkers pick ripe Roma tomatoes in Cristo Rey, Sinaloa. Paulina, left, 15, and her brother, Pablo Angel, 12, follow the harvest with their family.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A worker stokes a wood fire beneath a 50-yard-long drying oven covered with red jalapeño peppers. After 12 hours, the peppers will be spread on plastic sheets to dry in the sun for two more weeks. Once properly dried, peppers are packaged for sale in Mexico and the U.S.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Workers pick fresh basil in a field in Villa Benito Juarez, Sinaloa. The tender leaves are carefully boxed for export to the United States.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Broccoli is harvested in Vista Hermosa, Michoacan. Fertile soil, abundant water and an ideal climate make the earth bloom in this central Mexico region. However, amenities for the men and women who harvest the bounty, such as restrooms, are often absent.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A farmworker trims a fresh head of broccoli in a field in Vista Hermosa, Michoacan. By the end of day the broccoli will be driven to a distributor where brokers will prepare it for export.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Tomato picker Maria Vasquez, 22, uses a makeshift cup in an Agricola El Porvenir company shade house near Culiacan, Sinaloa. The company is a major exporter of hot-house-grown Roma tomatoes to the U.S.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

After a day of picking broccoli, workers in Vista Hermosa, Michoacan, stand in the back of an open truck awaiting the ride home. Given their low wages, some take produce with them to eat later.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Behind the high fence that surrounds Campo Sacramento in Guasave, Sinaloa, 7-year-old Udiel Castro plays with a kite he fashioned from a plastic grocery bag. Udiel's family, like many who work in the export agriculture industry, are indigenous people from some of the poorest parts of Mexico.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Maria Petra Pacheco, 18, stands in the shade next to her feverish 1-year-old son, Brian, as he naps in a tomato crate. She and her migrant family rent a barren, concrete block room for $20 a week in the farming pueblo of Isla del Bosque, Sinaloa.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

The 12-foot-by-12-foot rooms at Campo San Jose each house as many as six people, who sleep on concrete bunks nightly for months at a time. A restful night is hard to come by, as light and the sounds of crying babies and loud music spill over from adjoining rooms. Thieves jump the partitions and pilfer food, and rats scurry on the steel slats.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Seven-month-old Maria Marquez sleeps in a hanging basket in her family's small room at Campo San Jose. The family from Veracruz has been coming to the camp each harvest season for 14 years to pick tomatoes and cucumbers for Agricola El Porvenir.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

At a camp run by Farmer's Best that sprawls for miles south of Culiacan, the men's bathrooms have no toilets. Buckets of water are used to flush, and toilet paper is not provided.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A young farmworker prepares a slaughtered chicken in the roofless kitchen of her rented house in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico. Migrant families from Mexico's remote indigenous enclaves often spend years on the road chasing the harvest in a desperate, hand-to-mouth existence.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Children find some relief from the midday heat on the floor of a tiny room in a government-run farmworker camp in Isla del Bosque, Sinaloa. The 10-foot-by-10-foot rooms rent for about $10 a week.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A farmworker prepares a meal in a makeshift dwelling outside a labor camp in Navolato, Sinaloa. To supplement their rations, workers often scavenge for food.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A man washes laundry in a trash-dotted canal at Campo Isabelitas in Costa Rica, Sinaloa. Camp residents say the bathroom and laundry facilities often run out of water, so many wash clothes and bathe in water used to irrigate crops in the nearby greenhouses.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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1 Comment

  1. December 9, 2014, 3:42 pm

    Thank you for this powerful piece. Yet another example of excellent journalism revealing the dark side of an issue that is right under our noses (the food that we buy). We would have been oblivious to the suffering associated with it without this well researched article/series. I plan to carry my paper copy of this article into every supermarket I shop in, and will ask each manager about their sources of produce so they know that we care.

    By: Tara Cooper

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