California Needs an Agricultural Revolution

From the Ojai Valley, I Can See the State’s Post-Carbon Future—And It Looks Like the Ancient Past

The Ojai Valley in Ventura County is a magical place. Consider its elements: the sweet and intoxicating smell of California citrus blossoms in the spring, the open space preserved by orchards, the seasonal creeks that run free through the cultivated lands, the surrounding chaparral covered hills and mountains.

But the Ojai Valley is also a place in peril. That’s because the water source that keeps this inland Ventura hamlet thriving is nearly dry.

Lake Casitas reservoir was built in the late 1950s when decades of plentiful rain hid the true nature of …

Why Ewe Eat Lamb on Holidays (but Not the Rest of the Year) | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Ewe Eat Lamb on Holidays (but Not the Rest of the Year)

A Brief History of Sheep On—but Mostly off—the American Table

The United States doesn’t eat much sheep. In 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, Americans consumed less than one pound of lamb or mutton (the …

Colorado River water

When the Colorado River Runs Dry

A Coachella Valley Farmer Reflects on the Water Source He, His Date Palms, and People and Animals Across California Rely On

Even as she was going blind, my mom, ever the poet, delighted in sitting out among the palms and birds, and enjoying and visualizing the scene, as I irrigated my …

To Beat Climate Change, Rural Towns and Farms Need to Head North | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

To Beat Climate Change, Rural Towns and Farms Need to Head North

A Policy of ‘Managed Retreat’ Would Move California’s Thirsty Agriculture to a Wetter Part of the State 

Twenty-five years ago, at age 18, I followed my uncle to the top of Mount Lassen for a 10,000-foot view of Northern California’s Fourth of July fireworks. We watched the …

The 20th-Century Rise of the Confederate Soybean | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The 20th-Century Rise of the Confederate Soybean

The Emergence of Plants Named 'Jackson' and 'Lee' Tell a Larger Story of How the USDA Catered to White Farmers

If you were a devoted reader of Soybean Digest in the middle decades of the last century—likely a farmer who was either growing soybeans or seriously considering it—you might have …

A Mural Once Familiar to Thousands of Farm Workers Comes Home to the Coachella Valley | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Mural Once Familiar to Thousands of Farm Workers Comes Home to the Coachella Valley

The Artwork, Commissioned by My Old Boss Billy Steinberg, Is a Reminder That There’s an Alternative to Today’s Brutal Agribusiness

This month, a mural once familiar to thousands of farm workers in the Coachella Valley returns home. It depicts more than just the vineyards and grape pickers at David Freedman …