The Salinas Project
Executive Producer/Director: Carolyn Brown
About one hour south of the wealthy Silicon Valley, sits the agricultural, immigrant town of Salinas. On the east side of Salinas, in a neighborhood known as Alisal, deplorable housing conditions and gang violence are part of daily life. Big changes happening within the community, however, are bringing about a sense of renewal.
The city of Salinas, California, sits at the head of a fertile valley. Every day Americans eat produce that is hand-picked by migrant farm workers here. Along with an abundance of other crops, 80% of the nation's lettuce and artichokes are grown here, but few understand the challenges the farm workers and their children face. These farm workers are the backbone of agriculture in the United States and contribute to our food supply, yet they live in the shadows, in inadequate housing, and in dangerous neighborhoods, where gangs prey on vulnerable young people who are left home alone, while their parents work long hours in the fields.
This documentary profiles several children of migrant farm workers living in the Salinas Valley, specifically in Alisal. Without resources, and sometimes undocumented, their future is often uncertain, but their hope and resilience is abundant. The film helps viewers understand this immigrant community that is often misrepresented in the media, which often focuses on gang violence, marginalizing the lives of those who work in the fields, and their children. Furthermore the film brings to light the systemic causes of the problems in East Salinas and highlights the successes and hopes of this community, despite adversity.