What’s the Cost of a Family Secret?

A California Writer on the Aunt He Never Knew He Had—and the Lessons She Taught Him

Is there a family trait more common than keeping secrets?

These secrets can have hidden costs. When we leave a place or person behind, we don’t know what becomes of them. We miss out. We cut them out of our familial history.

These secrets can even make us miss the entire life of a loved one—a burrowed family secret, not passed down, and brought to light only in late harvest.

That’s one lesson of the most thought-provoking California story I’ve come across in years. It’s told with heart and heightened imagination by David …

Where I Go: My Teacher, the Tomato

How This Beautiful Plant and Its Magic Fruit Guides a Professional Chef in the Kitchen, and in Life

Food can connect us to the earth, our community, and ourselves. But first, we need to open a space to listen to and be in exchange with the ingredients.

As a …

Bread and Conflict in Ukraine | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Bread and Conflict in Ukraine

The Central Role of Wheat in War Determines Whether Nations Starve or Survive

Russia and Ukraine control about 11.2 percent of the world’s arable land, and supply 28 percent of its exported wheat. A substantial portion the world’s most fertile wheatfields lie along …

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 …

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 …