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Whitman College

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Spain: Language, Community, and Social Change


This research is intended to discuss the rapid development of the “invernaderos” (greenhouses) on the coast of Spain and to expose both the social and environmental repercussions of such a massive agricultural project. The data was gathered through the use of both secondary sources and primary research. The author conducted a number of interviews both on the coast, in Motril and Carchuna, and inland in Granada city -- discussing the subject with owners of “invernaderos”, pesticide sellers, and cooperative workers.

The main conclusion of this research is that while the work of “invernaderos” is a security for many agricultural families who have been in the business for years, it can also be a very dangerous job, detrimental to the health of both the workers and the land. Immigrant workers experience the most job insecurity but all workers have to deal with toxic fertilizers and pesticides on a regular basis due to the high rates of fungus and pests present in the “invernaderos”. Additionally, the large amount of waste, mostly plastics and chemicals, produced by the “invernaderos” has harsh impacts on the surrounding lands. While some methods of production are better than others there is a general trend of damaging practices. In general the labor conditions and life as a worker in an “invernadero” are very trying, but becoming a member of a cooperative has potential to bring some job security and support.


Agriculture | Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Health | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Work, Economy and Organizations