California’s Coast Doesn’t Have a Sustainability Monopoly

Rey Leon works on sustainability in the city of Huron, California. Sustainability is a common enough word on the California coast, where hybrid cars, organic food, and solar power are status symbols as green as the money that buys them. But what does sustainability mean in Huron, population 6,733? Situated 50 miles west of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley’s tomato fields, Huron has the dubious distinction of having one of the lowest median household incomes in California—$22,969 compared to California’s median of $61,632. And even though it’s in the middle of farmland, Huron is anything but rural: The census department defines an urban area as having 1,000 residents per square mile. Huron has 4,200 per square mile, which makes it essentially a miniature city—smaller than most L.A. neighborhoods—squeezed in between the valuable farmland and roads that supply the tomato paste factories in Huron and surrounding towns. I met Leon at the town hall, which has some of the biggest … Continue reading California’s Coast Doesn’t Have a Sustainability Monopoly