Rosa Hernandez left Oaxaca when she was 20 to work in the fields in Madera, California. Now, she co-owns a restaurant, Colectivo Sabor a Mi Tierra, where she cooks the food of her homeland for the many indigenous Mexicans who live in the area. She did it, she says, after realizing the cultural value of her food through inter-ethnic friendships and connections.
Over 90%. That’s how much native wetland California has lost due to agriculture and other development. That dramatic change in the landscape may sound grim, but in the Sacramento Valley, California’s rice country, some strange bedfellows are working together to address the historic loss of wildlife habitat, and to insure rice farming is part of the solution.
Recently, I visited a kind of factory I’d never seen before. I got suited up in safety gear — smock, rubber gloves, a hair net — not to protect me, but to protect the product made here. It’s in almost every convenience store, college dorm, school cafeteria, and in thousands of family freezers around the country: the frozen burrito.