Lost in the Geometry of California’s Farms

Verlyn Klinkenborg, writing about California’s Central Valley for the New York Times:

It’s easy to let yourself be overwhelmed by the agricultural geometry of the valley, all those rows seeming to rush past as you drive. But to understand its true immensity and capacity for transformation, you have to drop down off the interstate and onto the valley floor.

There is something stunning in the way the soil has been engineered into precision. Every human imperfection linked with the word “farming” has been erased. The rows are machined. The earth is molded. The angles are more rigid, and more accurate, than the platted but unbuilt streets out where easy credit dried up during the housing crisis. This is no longer soil. It is infrastructure, like the vast concrete sluice of the California Aqueduct, like the convoluted arrays of piping that spring up everywhere at the corners of fields.

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