Eastern Coachella Valley Project Hero


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.