Cultural and Medical Anthropologist & Physician

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies

This project investigates social hierarchies, health, health care and the naturalization and normalization of difference and inequality in the context of US-Mexico im/migration and transnational agro-food systems. The research was conducted in collaboration with indigenous Mexican immigrant communities and families. It led to the publication of several articles and the book Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (California Series in Public Anthropology, University of California Press, 2013).

About the Book

Based on five years of research in the field, traveling with and working with migrants, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies uncovers how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and health care.

All of the book award money and royalties from the sales of this book have been donated to farm worker unions, farm worker organizations and farm worker projects in consultation with farm workers who appear in the book.

Available in English, Spanish, and as an audio book.


Awards For fresh fruit, broken bodies

*All award money has gone to farmworker organizations in collaboration with the farmworkers in the book.

  • New Millennium Book Award, Society for Medical Anthropology (2013)

  • Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Award (2013)

  • Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award (2014)

  • Margaret Mead Award, Society for Applied Anthropology and American Anthropological Association (2014)

  • James M. Blaut Award, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Association of American Geographers (2015)

  • Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology, American Anthropological Association (2016)

Awards for Fruta Fresca, Cuerpos Marchitos

  • Premio Iberoamericano Mención Honorable, Latin American Studies Association (2018)

Selected Reviews and Media Coverage

Marke, B. Cover story: “Fieldwork: New book ‘Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies’ looks at the sorry state of migrant farmworker health care — and its larger implications in the global economy.” San Francisco Bay Guardian. December 10, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by Philpott, T. “What it’s like to sneak across the border to harvest food.” Mother Jones. October 31, 2013.

Benson, P. “Seth Holmes’ Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies.” Somatosphere.  October 16, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by Miller, J. “Travels with migrant farmworkers. A conversation with Seth Holmes about on-the-ground research for his new book.” High Country News. October 9, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by McMillan, T. “Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: The human cost of American agriculture.” Civil Eats. October 7, 2013.

Serious Eats.  “Serious reads: four books we’re loving.” Serious Eats. October 2, 2013.

Ealy, C. “An inside look at the lives of migrant farmworkers.” Austin American Statesman. September 21, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview. “Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies.” National Public Radio, KERA Think Texas. September 16, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by Moore, J. “Author Interview: Seth Holmes Talks About Farmworkers’ ‘Broken Bodies.’” Valley Public Radio. September 3, 2013.

Gonzales, M. “Fruits of oppression: Plight of migrant farmworkers at center of Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies.” National Catholic Reporter. August 28, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by Dunn, K. “Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies.” Wisconsin Public Radio. The Kathleen Dunn Show.  August 27, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by Myrow, R. “What is the cost of how we farm?” KQED, The California Report, National Public Radio. August 22, 2013.

Food Politics.  “Books about food industry work: firsthand.” Food Politics. August 19, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by Barclay, E. “Why picking your berries for $8,000 a year hurts a lot.” The Salt, National Public Radio. August 9, 2013.

Rogers, A. “Unseen sacrifices: New book reveals misperceptions, attitudes about migrant workers.” Spokesman Review. July 27, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by Dawson, G. “Fresh fruit, broken bodies: the true cost of our produce.” Modern Farmer. July 19, 2013.

Temkar, A. “New investigations spotlight the work of immigrant laborers as they bring cheap food to American families.” Monterey County Weekly. July 18, 2013.

Holmes, S.M. Interview by Sundaram, V. “Q&A Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies—A doctor’s journey among migrant farmworkers.” New American Media. June 30, 2013.

Gates, M. “Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farm Workers in the United States.” New York Journal of Books. June 19, 2013.

Martin, G. “The Fruits of Labor,” Review of Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farm Workers in the United States, by Seth M. Holmes. California Magazine. June 10, 2013.