Magazine April 19, 2021, Issue

The Fading of California’s San Joaquin Valley

Young orange trees in an orchard in the San Joaquin Valley (Patricia Elaine Thomas/Getty Images)
A diverse agrarian culture east of the Coast Range is disappearing

For much of the country, Cali­fornia has long been the destination of dreams, our nation’s last stop on its westward journey toward making real our visions of a better, more meaningful, more fulfilling life. The Gold Rush, the homesteaders’ trek west, the creation of the Hollywood dream factories, the Sixties counterculture, and Silicon Valley’s radical transformation of how we work, shop, communicate, socialize, and entertain ourselves all happened in California — for good or ill — making the Golden State the national “substance of things hoped for.”

Yet this fable of identity and possibility that is California has always overlooked the …

This article appears as “The Story of the San Joaquin Valley” in the April 19, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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In This Issue

I. What Made California Great

II. California's Self-Destruction

III. Can California Be Saved?

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