Florida's Farmworkers in the Twenty-first Century

Nano Riley and Davida Johns

Foreword by Raymond Arsenault and Gary Mormino, Series Editors
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"Historically, farmworkers have been among the most exploited of America's many laboring groups. They are not forgotten people, but they are indeed America's most ignored. In a book of significant social importance, Nano Riley and Davida Johns remind us, with honesty and passion, of Florida's own 'harvest of shame'." --Jack Davis, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"Hidden in parts of rural Florida is a way of life that has more in common with the 19th century than the 21st. Nano Riley and Davida Johns shine a much-needed spotlight on the sometimes horrific working conditions faced by tens of thousands of people."--Robert Lorei, news director, WMNF Radio, Tampa

In a book that combines both oral history and documentary photography, Nano Riley and Davida Johns tell the story of Florida's farmworkers in the 21st century. Largely ignored by mainstream America, migrant laborers often toil under adverse labor and living conditions to provide the nation's food supply. Intimate photographs and lucid text offer a look not only into the difficulties faced by these laborers but also into the rich cultural heritages of their communities and the close ties of their family life.

Until now, most publications on migrant farm labor focused on California or the Southeast in general, offering little information on conditions particular to farmworkers in Florida. Florida's Farmworkers focuses on the history of Florida agriculture, the unique climate, ecology, crops, and working conditions that distinguish the situation of Florida's farm laborers from those in other states. Organized thematically, the book explores the issues facing these migrant workers, who are largely Hispanic, Haitian, and from other regions of the Caribbean. Among the issues addressed are low wages, children's problems, education, substandard living conditions, health, pesticide exposure, and immigrant smuggling. Riley and Johns draw attention to a labor system greatly in need of reform.

Nano Riley is a freelance journalist living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Davida Johns is an award-winning photographer, currently serving in the Peace Corps in Belize.

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Awards
Carolynn Washbon Award - 2004

"readers new to the subject will find a wealth of information and will get an intimate view of a vital part of Florida's culture that is ignored by politicians and consumers alike. Riley and Johns demonstrate that the 'harvest of shame' Edward R. Murrow documented in the Sunshine State more than 40 years ago remains with us at the beginning of the 21st century." - St. Petersburg Times (online) St. Petersburg Times

" This is a work valuable to a variety of readers in the general public and academia alike." H-Florida

"John's abundant photographs are a rich supplement to Riley's text. Together, these representations spotlight the many, and significant, challenges embedded in the farmworker experience." "Its photography is illuminating and compelling; it reinforces the reality of these people's lives, at once spotlighting hardship and endurance." ; "Riley and Johns have made an important contribution to the debate by making it clear that Florida's Farmworkers, and agriculture, are an inextricable part of the state's composition." H-Florida

"There is much here to infuriate even the most hard-bitten social critic." "A useful source and one that is accessible to a broad audience."-Cindy Hahamovitch, College of William and Mary Journal of Southern History

"Succeeds in showing that hope is not lost." "Stands as a provocative study of the lives of migrant farmworkers and is an essential read for anybody studying the history of Florida." Southern Historian

"Johns' photographs punctuate Riley's arguments and at times tell their own moving story." Journal of American Ethnic History

"Two reinforcing stories, one in text and the other in pictures." "A helpful reminder of the bedrock upon which the nation's cheap food policy has been built." Agricultural History Journal

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