AP STORY: Almond investors

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES, Uncategorized

If you spend any time driving through the San Joaquin Valley, the vast stretch of fields and orchards between Sacramento and Bakersfield, you will notice the almond trees. Hundreds of thousands of acres of almond trees, to be exact. An ocean of almond, orchards without end. Soon, in February, the trees will bloom into an immeasurable white coverlet. The Valley is where most of the world’s …

AP STORY: Rewriting history

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

Here’s a fascinating story I worked on over the holidays. A school board in Salinas, California  – a city with a high crime rate and gang problems – decided to name its new elementary school after Tiburcio Vasquez, an Old West bandido, aka gangster, who was hanged for murder. But there is another aspect to this historical figure: people in …

AP STORY: Farmworkers to organic farmers

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

I have been wanting to write about ALBA, the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association, ever since I moved to central California. The program trains farmworkers to become small scale farmers, offering them a step up on the ladder of agriculture and allowing them to start a self-sustaining business. Plus, the program teaches about organic farming, mindful of the fact that …

AP STORY: Proliferation of food labels

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

Healthy eating has become a big trend in the U.S. in recent years. And companies big and small have been trying to monopolize on it. Eco-labels — describing a dizzying array of sustainable agricultural practices — are increasingly cropping up on farm products, claiming everything from ‘grassfed’ to ‘free-range’ to ‘predator friendly’. Some labels are legitimate, representing a stringent cerficiation process, while others …

A killer’s handwriting

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

Many details proved surprising and chilling about the mass shooting at the Fresno chicken processing plant this week. There was the way that the shooter, an employee at the plant, shot his victims execution-style, by placing the handgun against their head or neck and pulling the trigger. There was the fact that the victims, while deboning or grinding mounds of …

AP STORY: The meaning of a driver’s license

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

I’ve been working on a series of stories about the young immigrants who are eligible for the new federal program – called Deferred Action – that offers work permits and reprieves from deportation for those brought here illegally as children. Mostly recently, I wrote a story about how the program can benefit thousands of young workers, not just college or …

AP STORY: Deferred Action for workers

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

Thousands of young immigrants lined up last week across the country hoping for the right to work legally in America without being deported. The Obama administration’s new program – called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA for short – is meant for those who came to the U.S. as children, grew up steeped in American culture and have little or nothing to …

AP STORY: Latino Strawberry Growers

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

Early this week, I drove to the Watsonville-Salinas valley on California’s Central Coast – half of the strawberries grown in the state come from this area. And California grows 90 percent of the nation’s strawberries. It is clear to see why Watsonville-Salinas is ‘strawberry central.’ As soon as you get off the highway, you are completely surrounded by strawberry fields. …

AP STORY: murder-suicide or international intrigue

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

At the end of March, a reporter from Indian-controlled Kashmir (now a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley) contacted me in Fresno, where I am based with the AP. He told me that he was working on a story about a former Indian army officer accused of torture and killings in Kashmir who happened to live in Selma, …

AP Story: Hmong women, from refugee camp to college

Gosia Wozniacka AP STORIES

I often write about immigration issues, with special emphasis on the Latino community, the largest immigrant group. But California’s Central Valley is home to many other immigrant enclaves. One of these is the Hmong, an Asian ethnic minority whose people lived in the southeast Asian countries of Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as in China. The Hmong have a …