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 date gardens in the Coachella Valley of California.

In her 1997 poem, “Colorado Water,” she wrote:

The palm said, “My clover is cool around my bole, over my hidden roots.
My fronds clatter, crash
like waves in the far off sea.”

I follow the tradition of thousands of years, of date palm growers diverting the waters of the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates …

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 …

Humanity Might Have Been Born to Live in Cities | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Humanity Might Have Been Born to Live in Cities

Paleo-Style Sensibilities Aside, Earth's Future Hinges on the Success of Our Urban Spaces

Sometimes it feels like we made a wrong turn a long way back.

Perhaps it was the shift to fossil fuels and scientific medicine that led us to this place, …