Stories For Health


A young marijuana grower talks branding and the entrepreneurial spirit she sees as necessary for the future of pot in Humboldt.


Old-time marijuana grower describes the marijuana/charity connection in Humboldt.

Angelica Isidro, Mixteco interpreter and fieldworker in Greenfield

In the small farm towns of Salinas Valley, an increasing number of residents are indigenous Mexicans. They speak Mixteco, Zapoteco, and Triqui; Spanish is a second language, if it’s spoken at all. That can create complex language barriers, which Natividad Medical Center is working to break down. (aired on The California Report, Latino USA Feb 2013)


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The Humboldt County town of Garberville is a thriving center of California’s marijuana industry. For the past few decades, pot growing has gradually replaced logging and ranching as the economic engine there. Southern Humboldt reporter Kym Kemp and I tour Garberville to share the changing identity of a town underwritten by pot. (aired on The California Report Jan 2011)

ECV mobile home parks

Southern California’s Coachella Valley is a study in contrasts. To the West lie Palm Springs and other desert resort towns. But it’s farms, not golf courses, that dominate the Eastern Coachella Valley. Here, the land is rich, but most of the people are not. It’s home to an estimated 15,000 farmworkers, for whom housing has always been a problem. Though the county and housing non-profits built thousands of permanent homes, thousands more families are still on waiting lists. Mobile home parks have become the defacto solution.


The unincorporated community of Mecca in Riverside County’s Eastern Coachella Valley has a host of environmental concerns, from well water with naturally-occurring arsenic to toxic dump sites. Talk about environmental justice here, and people always mention Eduardo Guevara as a leader in the community. Guevara says, however, five years ago, after moving here from Mexicali, Mexico, he wasn’t involved in any kind of activism. After his wife was hospitalized twice for asthma, Guevara learned that their environment might be contributing to her health problems. Guevara, his wife and his now 12-year-old son Eduardo Guevara Jr. started attending community meetings to get some answers.


There’s been some record-setting heat around California this summer — it’s more than just an annoyance for those who can’t take refuge because the outdoors is their office. In July, when temperatures in California soared above 100 for almost three weeks, three farm workers died. State regulators are investigating those deaths to see if employers violated heat illness prevention laws.


Rural California has long faced a shortage of doctors, and in the San Joaquin Valley studies show the number of primary care physicians per person is about half the state’s average. But here and there, you can find physicians who really commit to their communities. We meet a couple of dedicated rural physicians, and a collaboration to cultivate more doctors like them.


It’s just 40 miles from Palm Springs, but the Eastern Coachella Valley is home to a host of environmental concerns, ranging from arsenic in the well water to toxic dump sites. The people who live there are predominantly poor, Latino and farmworkers. Increasingly, however, young people are joining the ranks of community activists working toward environmental justice, and they’re doing it through crowdsourcing and other technology.