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 Company, where I once worked. It documents a path not taken for California agriculture, and its rural communities.

The mural—which is being donated to the city of Coachella by my old boss Billy Steinberg—was first commissioned for the company’s new packing plant and offices in the unincorporated town of Thermal, more than 40 years ago.

The 14-foot-by-7-foot work was created in …

The Huge Electric Leadership of a Small California Town | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Huge Electric Leadership of a Small California Town

By Building Its Own Microgrid, Rural Gonzales Charts a Path to the Energy Future

If California is lucky, our energy future could look like a small town in the rural Salinas Valley.

Longtime readers of this column will not be surprised to learn that the …

Rural Food Banks Have Never Been More Important | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Rural Food Banks Have Never Been More Important

COVID Has Created Thousands of New Clients for California's Smallest Food Banks—And New Challenges That May Outlast the Pandemic

Before COVID-19, our little food bank here in Kings County served 1,000 families, on average, a month. But in the pandemic, we are now working to feed more than five …