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People, Place and Health: a Pesticide Atlas of Monterey County and Tulare County, California
This project employs a mixed‐method, place‐based approach to study agricultural worker health issues related to pesticide use in rural California. Sociospatial analysis considers space, place and social indicators in a holistic and integrated fashion (Steinberg and Steinberg 2008). This project utilizes Geographic Information System (GIS) to effectively integrate environmental and social data related to farmworker health and pesticide use. GIS is a computerized system of mapping. The value of a sociospatial approach is that it allows for the spatial portrayal of social and environmental data in a holistic fashion. In this case, our sociospatial approach highlights the interplay between people and place. We focus on environmental and social issues for farmworkers in the three communities in both Monterey and Tulare counties. Using this visual approach for communication and portrayal of data proves to be effective across both language and literacy barriers. To conduct this study, the California Center for Rural Policy and the Institute for Spatial Analysis, located at Humboldt State University, worked in partnership with the Agricultural Worker Health Initiative (AWHI) funded by the California Endowment, including Poder Popular ‐ a community‐based group to empower farmworker communities throughout the state of California. We wish to thank the California Endowment for support of this project. We would especially like to thank Mario Gutierrez, M.P.H., Director, Rural and Agricultural Worker Health Program for his vision in supporting this work. This atlas includes both maps and interview data integrated to tell the stories of farmworkers, their communities and pesticide drift resulting from our extensive environmental mapping of pesticide use and application rates within the study region. Particular emphasis is placed on the amount and types of pesticides and fumigants used near schools, neighborhoods and community gathering places. The associated report People, Place and Heath: A Sociospatial Perspective of Agricultural Workers and Their Environment, details the project interviews and results to accompany this atlas, concluding with a summary of our findings and policy recommendations.