Every winter thousands of Mexican farm workers endure a season of backbreaking work in order to supply the U.S. with lettuce and make a living. Most workers get up around 4:00 a.m. to make the trip across the border and get into one of the old school buses that takes them for the long hard day of work. Although they only make about $8.50 an hour, this is still a coveted job among Mexicans that live in the border area of Yuma.

 

This border floodlight can be seen from the family trailer in San Luis, Arizona. Once night falls they can hear the constant humming that comes from the floodlight's generator. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Erick Torres, 3, plays with his cousins under the watchful eyes of his mother and grandmother. At sunset this small border community is filled with the sound of kids playing on the streets. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Erick Torres, 3, entertains himself by writing on his chair despite the protests of his grandmother. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Jose Andres, 45, or "Pepe" as his family lovingly calls him, sits in his favorite chair by the door April 24, 2010. Jose, who is mentally challenged, has lived at home since birth. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Jose Andres, 45, "Pepe" sits in his favorite chair by the door to watch the sunset. Pepe has epilepsy and cannot be left alone. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Vegetables and fruit became a regular part of their diet after they received advice from "Farmers Without Borders," a local non-profit organization that educates the community in how to live healthier lives and prevent diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Eloisa Lara, 65, (left) had her right leg amputated due to complications with her diabetes. Sandra Cerda, 41, cuts some cucumbers for her son Erick Torres, 3, and his cousins Kayla Ramirez, 5, and Issac Ramirez, 7. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
A migrant farmer jokes with co-workers as he loads a truck with fresh picked lettuce. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
A migrant farm worker who wishes not to be identified bends over, cuts and prepares the lettuce in just a few seconds. He repeats this process for about 8 hours a day. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Jaime Machado supervises lettuce pickers in a field just outside of Yuma, Arizona. Farming in this area relies heavily on migrant farm workers from Mexico to plant and harvest it's semi-annual crops. To insure sanitary purity, all workers must wear rubber gloves and hair nets. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Migrant farm workers from Mexico pick, de-core and pack the lettuce in Yuma, Arizona, February 26, 2010. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Farm workers are advised to wash the clothes worn in the fields separate from the rest of the family to avoid contamination by pesticides. (Photo: Michel Duarte/Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication)