Central Coast

california's coastal bread basket


  • One of California’s key agricultural hubs

  • Some communities struggle with gangs and violence

  • Legacy of politically engaged farm workers that still lives on today

Composed of the coastal communities from Santa Cruz County to Santa Barbara County, the central coast is one of California’s major agricultural regions. Despite the fertile farmland, residents in some central coast communities struggle to afford healthy and fresh food for their families.

There is noticeable disparity in infrastructure between wealthy and less affluent areas, like new curbs, sidewalks, and street lighting in the wealthy areas that are not present in poorer communities. Our community advisors also pointed to a breakdown in trust between some communities and police due to recent reports of police violence and abuse. 

We held two listening sessions in the City of Salinas. The first session engaged many young people, some of whom were high school students or recent college graduates. They talked about stress from balancing the pressures of school and work, as well as their families’ expectations to help the family move up and out of poverty. Some spoke of wanting more support and counseling to plan their futures. They exhibited hopefulness as they described the resilience and potential of Salinas.

In a second Salinas session, agricultural workers spoke openly about difficult working conditions in the fields. Like the young people in the first session, they shared vivid dreams for Salinas — dreams of a city that embraces nature with parks and open space.


Community Listening Advisors

Community Listening Advisor
Joel Hernandez-Laguna,
Lead Organizer

The Center for Community Advocacy

Community Listening Advisor
Sabino Lopez,
Director of Community Outreach

The Center for Community Advocacy

Community listening session venues


November 29, 2016
Cesar Chavez Library
615 Williams Rd., Salinas, CA
Hosted by The Center for Community Advocacy


November 30, 2016
Alisal Family Resource Center
441 Del Monte Ave., Salinas, CA
Hosted by The Center for Community Advocacy