America’s Most Productive Agricultural Region Is Also One of Its Most Diverse

Since the 19th Century, California’s San Joaquin Valley Has Drawn Farmers From Around the World

California’s San Joaquin Valley is often dismissed as small and rural. To the contrary, it’s a massive area of farms, ranches, small towns, and growing cities, emblematic of the American West as a blend of Old West values and New West technology. It’s also historically distinctive as one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the United States.

Most Americans know little, and think less, about this complicated and neglected region. Novelist Manuel Muñoz describes the valley, where he was born and grew up, as “a strangely unexplored area of our …

Could a New River City Transform California?

Along the San Joaquin, Madera County Is Building Thousands of New Homes—and Perhaps Shaping the State's Next Great Region

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit of a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?

Whether that happens …

Where Do Tumbleweeds Come From?

The Plants We Think Epitomize the Untamed West Are Actually Foreign Invaders

Kevin de León, the new leader of the California State Senate, recently caused a stir when he said that it would be a bad idea to begin building a proposed …

If California Cows Could Talk

Much Like Their Human Counterparts, Cows Around the State Are Being Asked to Do More With Less

I am a California dairy cow. Mmmm—oo.

Surprised to hear from me? In normal times, I wouldn’t be inclined to cooperate with the anthropomorphic scheme of a writer desperate for a …

All California’s Problems Lead to the San Joaquin Valley

From Water Shortages to High-Speed Rail, the State’s Most Overlooked Region Is at the Center of Its Most Important Debates

It’s not clear if Governor Jerry Brown and his challenger Neel Kashkari will debate each other this fall. But if they do, there should be no doubt about the proper …

Can California’s San Joaquin Valley Conquer Urban Sprawl?

A Law Demanding Long-Term Planning Will Only Work If Communities Change How They See Growth

I studied to become a civil engineer with the goal of building grand things, like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, and interstate freeways. Thanks to two inspiring professors, …