Silicon Valley's success squeezes California's immigrant farmers

A Hyphen magazine short documentary on the life of an Asian immigrant farmer near California's Silicon Valley.

Bob and Judy Kuang's farm begins where a cul-de-sac ends in the tiny town of San Martin, CA. It's about 30 miles south of San Jose and home to some of the country's most expensive real estate. At first glance, it might not even be recognizable as a working farm.

At PRI, more on this a story of Chinese farmers on the fringes of San Francisco who feed Chinatowns throughout the country. As Silicon Valley expands, these farmers who live and work on small, family-run operations are being pushed out by economic growth.

Back in San Martin, the Kuangs continue to live the farming life of their ancestors. But this way of life is increasingly under threat — not from the manufacture of watches, toys and clothes as is the case in China, but from Internet company headquarters and the surrounding neighborhoods where its employees live. Since buying 12.9 acres here in 1998, the Kuangs have watched the price tag of surrounding land increase from $30,000 an acre to as much as $70,000 in recent years. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, more than half of the Asian American farmers in Santa Clara County operate on less than 10 acres of land. Unlike their white and Latino counterparts, the number of Asians operating farms larger than 180 acres can be counted on one hand.

Discuss

8 Responses to “Silicon Valley's success squeezes California's immigrant farmers”

  1. esme says:

    oh no, the value of their farmland doubled in 15 years.  whatever shall they do?

  2. Robinalabama says:

    The land that does get sold ends up as housing tracts. Less available land to farm close to where it is needed most.

    • sdmikev says:

      We never learn.
      Our most valuable asset in our great state – the land – is sometimes treated with such a disregard it’s really sad.

  3. fredges says:

    My grandparents came here from Europe and worked just as hard. My heart goes out to all farmers in America. They are an endangered species.

  4. gjbloom says:

    If California would legalize cannabis, these farmers would have a potentially much more lucrative crop to farm.

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