chapter  5
25 Pages

Farm Workers' Own Housing: Self-Help in Cabrillo Village

ByNeal R. Peirce, Robert Guskind

Fertile farmland, glowing lush green with strawberry and tomato plants, resounding with the clack, clack of irrigation equipment bringing water to parched soil. Farmers are called "growers", yet the last crop the growers usually bring in is houses. Cabrillo Village occupies twenty-five acres of land on the edges of Saticoy, a little farm town, situated between Ventura and Oxnard, a neighborhood where agribusiness names such as Dole adorn many buildings and the streets often rumble with the sound of the tractor and tractor-trailer. Cabrillo began life as a farm workers' camp, with dormitories, warehouses, and a company store. The global marketplace was developing and growers in California—and farmers around the nation—were starting to watch their profits shrink after a long period of relatively good times. In October 1974, Cabrillo's farm laborers walked out on the local lemon growers, demanding higher wages and better working conditions.