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Artbound

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Eastern Coachella Valley
A series examining Eastern Coachella Valley produced in partnership with the California Endowment.

The Coachella Valley is a thriving region with an abundant agricultural industry and notable tourist attractions, such as Palm Springs and the annual Coachella Festival. It is also a sprawling desert. In the Eastern Coachella Valley, date farms and high-yielding vegetable fields contradict the monochromatic, rocky desert terrain that surrounds them. The dichotomy of growth in a seemingly inhospitable environment manifests most clearly in the communities of the Eastern Coachella Valley where the arduousness of its geography colludes with the lack of urban planning for its growing population that has shaped many of the severe challenges faced by its most vulnerable residents.

Riverside is one of most rapidly sprawling counties in the nation. In the Eastern Coachella Valley, this growth is largely driven by its robust agricultural industry that has attracted a largely immigrant, Latino population. Though many agricultural workers land temporarily in this valley, they often extend their stay permanently. As a result, the Coachella Valley has failed to keep up with the velocity of its growth. Without basic infrastructure, many unplanned communities that have sprouted in the desert are left to their own devices as they struggle to attain basic services. Access to healthcare, adequate housing, and viable transportation are three of the Eastern Coachella Valley's most pressing concerns.

In response, a new wave of activism and innovation has been rising and gaining strength in the Eastern Coachella Valley. Together with local organizations, they are now working to improve the quality of life and the health of their communities by taking initiative to build lasting solutions.

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Farm in Coachella Valley near Mecca
Article
Departures

Celebrating AB1066 – ‘It’s About Time’ Farmworkers Get Overtime Pay

It took decades, but now California farmworkers will get the pay they deserve. The California Senate passed AB 1066 earlier this month, a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez that will create new rules for overtime pay for farmworkers.
Edgar Hernandez Skating in North Shore
Article
Departures

The Last Skaters of North Shore

In a community surrounded by desert as far as the eye can see, there’s a group of skateboarders, known as the ‘North Shore Misfits,’ who regularly turn the abandoned buildings and streets of North Shore and Mecca into their own makeshift skate park.
Jonathan Gonzalez Author
Article
Departures

My Worst Nightmare Was Missing the Bus

For North Shore resident Jonathan Gonzalez, missing the morning bus means a three hour wait for the next one and losing a day of work.
Violeta Lopez Eastern Coachella Valley
Article
Departures

Miles Away from the Next Stop: The Bumpy Road to Transportation Equity

For residents of North Shore, getting around on public transportation can be tough. There is only one bus line serving the city, located about 20 miles south of Coachella, and it comes only once every three hours.
Families Become Homeowners
Article
Departures

Sweat as Currency: Families Become Home Owners by Building Their Own Homes

The Mutual Self-Help Housing Program is a nationwide program that helps low-income families purchase homes with labor equity. By building their own homes, residents in the Coachella Valley realize their American Dream.
Free Healthcare Services in the Eastern Coachella Valley I Photo By: Ricardo Palavecino
Article
Departures

Flying Doctors Flock to Provide Free Healthcare

Flying Doctors, a non-profit comprised of volunteer doctors, provides free healthcare services in Coachella Valley to a community largely lacking year-around healthcare.
hiddenh_010.jpg
Article
Departures

Beyond the Cut: Hidden Harvest Rescues Food, Feeds Families

Hidden Harvest has rescued over 16 million pounds of produce from Coachella Valley fields and packing houses, averaging over 1 million pounds a year since 2001. Recovering crop waste can be a key to solving hunger in the heart of California's abundant ...
arsenic-5.jpg
Article
Departures

Drinking the Fruits of Their Labor: Accessing Potable Water in the Eastern Coachella Valley

The St. Anthony Mobile Home Park was never intended to be a hospitable place for families. Like many unlikely enterprises that have grown as if by miracle in the middle of the Coachella Valley desert, the property that today houses over 100 homes was o...
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