Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
Rebecca Som Castellano (Boise State University)
cynthia Curl (Boise State University)
Farmworkers are socially, economically and politically vulnerable. Most scholarship on farmworkers centers on abuses and injustices in the labor system, exposure to environmental toxins and immigration status. This paper does not seek to romanticize farm labor. However, ethnographic research conducted with Latina women in rural southwestern Idaho illuminates the ways in which Latina women engage nature in unique and surprising ways. In our research, we seek to understand how women define and perceive of their health and well-being. Based upon interviews, focus groups and participant observation, we find that women often discuss a satisfaction of working with and in nature. Women have shared the joys of spending time outside in the open air, working with the soil, socializing with other women, and following a family tradition of farming.
In this paper, we explore how Latina farmworkers engage nature while working in agricultural fields. We consider the ways in which women understand health and wellbeing in ecological and relational terms. The paper contributes to a more nuanced insight into Latina women’s perspectives on the “the good life,” environmental justice and ideas of nature.