News and Events

News and Events

Check out our latest happenings at FIELD and the work we are doing in our community through services, community relief and support, along with what is happening in our education programs.​

FIELD President and CEO David Villarino sits down Jorge Contreras, Manager of Financing at NFF

Cesar's goal when he founded FIELD was to inspire California’s rural workforce to gain self-sufficiency through employee-owned enterprises. “When we talk about self-sufficiency, what we're really talking about is rural communities – immigrant communities – prospering both economically and socially,” says David Villarino-Gonzalez, President and CEO, FIELD. As FIELD works to continues our mission to improve the economic prospects of rural immigrant communities all over California, we do this through a variety of educational and workforce development training programs, and through developing local cooperative enterprises.  

In this conversation, David shares what he’s learned working with his community, what capacity building means for FIELD, and the importance of listening to the people you serve. Joining him is Jorge Contreras, Manager, Financing at NFF. 

This conversation is part of NFF's "Where We Go From" series, a collection of interviews where nonprofit and foundation leaders share advice on what brings them hope, how they respond to change, and what keeps them going. Visit for more details.


FIELD Joins in Historic Partnership on Clean Water, Jobs and Economic Development for Desert Tribal, Farmworker Communities 

On January 10, 2023 FIELD announced an historic agreement to form a joint venture with a federally-recognized Native American tribe and a private land owner that will generate water, jobs and economic development in tribal and farmworker communities in California. This collaboration is the first known strategic business partnership between a Native American tribe and farmworkers in the U.S. 

Under the agreement, the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians (“TMDCI”), a federal sovereign Tribe, the Farmworkers Institute of Education & Leadership Development (“FIELD”), and Cadiz, Inc., a California water solutions company, will form a joint venture partnership to develop 11,000-acres of land in the Eastern Mojave Desert. Water and proceeds from the project will be shared equally among the parties and is expected to accelerate workforce and infrastructure development, economic diversification and generational wealth building benefitting mainly tribal and farmworker communities in California’s Coachella Valley and underserved areas in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Imperial and Kern Counties. 

“For Native Americans, water is Life – physically, economically and spiritually,” said Tribal Chairman, Thomas Tortez. “This unique partnership gives our Tribe financial and technical resources to be stewards, not only of our Native lands, but of our future.” 

“Cesar Chavez’s ultimate vision was to inspire farmworkers and others in poor, minority communities to gain self-sufficiency,” said David Villarino, President of FIELD. “This unique business partnership will give farmworkers the tools to adapt to the grave threat of climate change, and the means to build a self-sufficient future for themselves and their families.” 

“This is a historic venture,” said Susan Kennedy, Executive Chair of Cadiz, Inc. “There has never been a public-private partnership like this before. What the TMDCI and FIELD are creating is a roadmap for how to turn water scarcity into a secure and sustainable future.” 

The joint venture envisions developing 11,000 acres of land owned by Cadiz separate and independent from the Company’s 35,000-acre Cadiz Valley property to sustainably manage the groundwater basins and make surplus groundwater available for beneficial uses, including farming, housing, and economic development in less fortunate communities. The lands include 9,000 acres in the Piute watershed near Needles, California and 2,000 acres in Ward Valley near Danby Dry Lake. Portions of the land may be maintained as 2 conservation easements for Desert Tortoise and other wildlife or utilized for renewable energy development. Under the terms of the agreement, TMDCI, FIELD and Cadiz will work to cooperatively to identify opportunities to utilize the properties for beneficial uses.

Cadiz will contribute the land to the joint venture and provide technical and financial support for development efforts; FIELD will develop technical education programs to train farmworkers and tribal members in sustainable groundwater management and adaptive agricultural practices for extreme arid climates; and TMDCI will utilize water and revenue generated from the venture for sustainable economic development that benefits tribal and farmworker communities in and around the Coachella and Imperial Valleys.

This is the second collaboration between FIELD and Cadiz. Last September, Cadiz and FIELD announced an agreement to create a state-of-the-art Innovation Campus at Cadiz Ranch to provide work-based training, education and business opportunities for farmworkers. As part of that initiative, FIELD launched an English as a Second Language program at Cadiz for Ranch staff in support of the Career Technical Education (CTE) program operating within FIELD’s EPIC de Cesar Chavez High School.

TMDCI is a federally-recognized Tribe and sovereign nation whose people have inhabited California’s desert regions since time immemorial. The Torres Martinez Reservation is located in Eastern Coachella Valley. Approximately half of the Tribe’s reservation lies beneath the Salton Sea, which is heavily impacted by extended drought and conditions on the Colorado River resulting in reduced inflow to the Sea.

In August, Cadiz announced it would dedicate 5,000 acre-feet of water per year from the company’s flagship project, the Cadiz Water Conservation and Storage Project, to the Salton Sea Authority and the Tribe, and that the company would arrange funding for pipeline infrastructure and install well treatment technology to remove arsenic from drinking water on TMDCI lands.

Groundwater filtration systems will be provided by ATEC Water Systems LLC (ATEC), a pioneering water technology firm and wholly owned subsidiary of Cadiz. ATEC was acquired by Cadiz in 2022 as part of the Company’s overall commitment to improve reliable access to clean, affordable water supplies in California.

FIELD Welcomes $8M in State Funding

Our President/CEO David Villarino-González and the FIELD staff was joined by local government, education and business leaders at our event at the newly acquired S Union Ave CTE Training Center where Assemblyman Rudy Salas presented a novelty check to FIELD's president and CEO, David Villarino-Gonzalez. Members of the press joined for the event. Check out some of what they had to say!

Brianna Willis 23ABC takes viewers on a tour of the facility where she talks with some of FIELDs corpsmembers and leadership.

John Cox from also joined FIELD's celebration. Read more about the day in his article "New career training center in southeast Bakersfield welcomes $8M in state money"

BakersfieldNow Eyewitness News reporter Leslie Valle also reports on the day's event.

FIELD Announces $5 Million Partnership with Cadiz Ranch

Our President/CEO David Villarino-González shares how he envisions a day when rural communities can have clean drinking water and when crops can thrive through droughts or wet seasons.
"Cadiz Ranch and the Farmworkers Institute of Education & Leadership Development (FIELD)_ announced Thursday a $5 million partnership to set up an innovative center to train farmworkers on state-of-the-art technology that produces clean water. The ranch has 45,000 acres in the Mojave Desert where it will teach people about water conservation, groundwater management and sustainable agriculture."
Read more at The Fresno Bee Vida en el valle


FIELD's Cesar Chavez Environmental Corps {CCEC} teamed up with Houchin Blood Bank and Kiwanis for a community blood drive. The CCEC rolled up their sleeves and donated. It was the first time for some of our corpsmembers, but everyone's goal was to come together as a community and donate blood.

Cesar Reveles said "I want to help those in need. Who knows I might need it someday. It was my first time and it was fast and easy. I recommend everyone to do it".

Jared Joya said "I'm afraid of needles, but after it was over I realized I was just overthinking. It felt good to know I can help save a life by donating".




To kick off the new year, FIELD's Cooperative Program team has some exciting program advancements to share! With the support of the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation and the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Cooperative Program team has embarked on the program's strategic planning process with the participation of FIELD partners and staff from different departments. This process is crucial for identifying the program's 3-year vision, mission, strategy, and program objectives. These sessions will leave FIELD better positioned to define its cooperative development model in light of its programmatic vision and objectives. 
The Cooperative Program has also advanced in the implementation of its research and engagement activities. After reviewing publications and interviewing nearly 30 cooperative development experts, the team has identified 13 key findings that will guide the design of the cooperative program. The team also looks forward to continuing engagement with FIELD program participants and staff. An online survey in English and Spanish was sent out to program participants in March to gather feedback on our Cooperative Program planning. We are also providing opportunities for FIELD staff to participate in focus groups

The Cooperative Program also hosted its Cesar Chavez Cooperative Hybrid Symposium which was held on May 5th and 6th, 2022. During the hybrid symposium, FIELD program participants and staff will had the opportunity to learn more about the worker cooperative experience from worker-owner guest speakers. 



KGET Channel 17 - David Villarino, FIELD's President/CEO talks with Ilyana Capellan about new programs at FIELD and the kickoff to their #GivingTuesday campaign. 

 FIELD President/CEO David Villarino-Gonzalez shares information about EPIC de Cesar Chavez High School enrollments and new locations that have opened up throughout the state. 


  • EPIC ORIENTATIONS - July 11th through Aug 12th
  • EPIC High School First Day of Classes - August 24, 2022

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