I’m digressing a little from my near constant focus on food, of late (a result of my part-time gig as a restaurant reviewer). My topics for this blog have been fairly eclectic, and aside from food, I’ve also written about local history, culture, and social issues. Boom is a journal that interests me because it covers a lot of interesting and cogent issues about local California areas, addressing history, culture, arts, politics, and society.
Take, for example, Images from the Central Valley by Tracy Perkins and Julie Sze. They discuss, among other things, the growing advocacy networks in the Central Valley to protect the people and land from problems resulting from dangerous chemical use and other environmental abuses. Although I don’t live in the Central Valley, I do live surrounded by agricultural fields and, along with an increase in asthma and hay fever, I have become increasingly concerned about the use of methyl iodide and pesticide drift–something I never used to think about when I lived further north in Santa Cruz.
Excerpt from the article: Practically speaking, the Central Valley is all but invisible to those who live outside it. Over the course of the twentieth century, legislators and growers turned this 500-mile-long stretch of land into one of the most intensively farmed regions in the world, watered by one of the world’s most ambitious irrigation systems. Although California leads the nation in agricultural production, many Californians have little sense of what goes on in the agricultural regions of their state. This invisibility helps to explain why California has located two of the state’s three hazardous-waste landfills and many of its prisons there, while also continuing to allow high levels of toxicity in the air and water.
Nonetheless, the politics of the Central Valley have implications outside the region’s boundaries—as its history shows. From farm families migrating there in search of a haven from the Dust Bowl of the 1930s to César Chávez and the farmworkers’ movement in the 1960s and 1970s, the Central Valley has played an important role in shaping California and the nation. Read more here.