California has long been referred to as an “edenic utopia…tropical paradise…ultimate cash prize…and glamorous celebrity haven”. California has always been idolized as the land of plenty whether it is celebrities, jobs or natural resources like water and land. California has also been touted as one of the agricultural epicenters of the United States.
What does this Art Wood cartoon tell us about the dream of a lush and fertile agricultural center?
Allmendinger’s article calls attention to the ‘plight’ of the family farm, noting Hanson’s work Fields without Dreams where the author sheds light on the California dream vs. the reality. Hanson states farming “provides contact with nature and isolation from the ills of society but…also involves financial hardship, brute labor and loneliness.” also noting that “family farms are a goner”. Gone are the days of expansive open space, flowing rivers and fertile valleys. Here are the days of corporate profit and never ending drought. In California the reality of crops that survive solely on imported water replaces the myth of always green and lush agricultural valleys. The dream of family owned farms profiting from their daily toils is replaced by farmers who can barely make ends meet.
Allmendinger, Blake. “All About Eden.” Reading California: Art, Image, and Identity: 1900-2000. Eds. Stephanie Baron, Sheri Bernstein, and Ilene Susa Fort. Berkley: University of California Press, 2000. 133-128. Print
Wood, Art. “Where Do We Go From Here?” Cartoon, Farm Bureau News, 1983.