Research Group

UC-Mexico Farm Labor Research Cluster

About Us

The agricultural sector has historically bound Mexico and California together in significant ways such as moving people across continents, creating unique cultures, and evolving languages. Economically, California’s agricultural receipts in 2021 alone amounted to $50B while that of Mexico’s were $43.2 during the same year. Mexico ranked fifth in California’s top agricultural export destinations with a value of $1.3B in 2021. California imported goods with a total value of $46B from Mexico in 2021, with agricultural related goods being in the top 4 in terms of value. Unifying this bilateral trade volume between the two regions is the farm labor sector. Despite their tremendous impact to both regions’ economies, farm labor in the United States and in Mexico is severely affected by environmental drivers related to climate change (i.e., heat waves, wildfires, droughts) as well as those directly related to the agricultural sector (i.e., chemical exposure, air, and water quality).

The contributions and wellbeing of farmworkers play critical factors in healthy, sustainable, and equitable food supply chains. The UC-Mexico Farm Labor Research Cluster includes participation from researchers from Mexico and California. Mexican research institutions and the UC system both have a significant depth of knowledge regarding farm labor wellbeing. Tapping into this current knowledge base in both regions will result in an improvement of our understanding as to how environmental drivers impact the farm labor, and increases the possibility of scaling up policies that benefit both regions.

We propose the establishment of a research cluster that is multidisciplinary in nature, and that includes experts in public health, environmental/agricultural economics, agronomy, law, climate change, and indigenous studies among others. The target beneficiaries are not only farmworkers but also other participants in the food supply chain such as food distributors, the agricultural-technological innovation sector, and others.

This research cluster is made possible with support from the University of California Alianza MX.

Our Goals

  • Establish a multidisciplinary UC-Mexico research working group tasked with analyzing the farm labor sectors in Mexico and California, with emphasis on the environmental drivers impacting the wellbeing of farmworkers.
  • Produce UC-Mexico scholarly work, reflecting a strengthening of UC-Mexico research relationships.
  • Develop a UC-Mexico sustainable farm labor research funding strategy for both regions.
  • Incorporate research findings into fam labor policy design in Mexico and California.
  • Increase student-led research that contributes to future collaborations between Mexico and California.

Learn More


Research Documents