The Coachella Valley, in Southern California, is one of the country’s richest agricultural regions, providing the country with tons of grapes, dates and other produce. But it’s also what environmentalists call a “data desert.” Nobody knows the full extent of environmental problems that make life hazardous for the farmworkers there simply because the numbers are lacking. Without that data, the region can’t get money for improvements. Lisa Morehouse reports on an effort by environmentalists to crowdsource the needed data with the help of local teenagers.
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Lisa Morehouse is an award-winning independent public radio and print journalist, who’s filed for KQED’s The California Report, NPR’s Latino USA and All Things Considered, Edutopia magazine and McSweeney’s. Her reporting has taken her from Samoan traveling circuses to Mississippi Delta classrooms to the homes of Lao refugees in rural Iowa. She’s currently working on After The Gold Rush: The Future of Rural California, an audio documentary website and series. A former public school teacher, Morehouse also works with at-risk youth to produce radio diaries.