Valley at the Crossroads
The battle over sprawl in California's Central Valley, where 50% of America's fruits, nuts, and vegetables are grown.
The Central Valley is perhaps the world's greatest agricultural resource, producing about half of America's fruits, nuts and vegetables. But in many valley towns, homebuilding, not agriculture, now drives the economy.
Produced by John Doxey and George Spies
Still photography: Robert Dawson
Two vast forces are beginning to collide, and battles have broken out in the Valley over growth. Valley at the Crossroads visits the frontlines of this struggle and explores the central issues involved. Included are the voices of farmers, activists, office holders, developers and others as they debate the issues and work to find a solution.
In a state that's projected to reach a population of 50 million by 2025, will the Central Valley go the way of Los Angeles and Silicon Valley -- regions that only two generations ago were agricultural juggernauts themselves?
The future of the Central Valley is arguably California's greatest 21st century decision -- a decision that also has profound implications for the rest of the country. Valley at the Crossroads is the first film to grapple with these questions head-on.
Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2002
Copyright Date: 2002
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-422-2
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-957-6
"Takes a balanced look at the forces driving growth in [California's] Central Valley, and the threat that poorly planned growth poses for one of our country's most important agricultural resources. The film is recommended viewing for anyone interested in these issues."
Erik Vink, California Department of Conservation
"The stakes in terms of food and fiber security for the United States are high, and at some point in the near future a point of no return will be reached, so political and economic steps must be taken soon if the agricultural nature of the Central Valley is not to be changed irrevocably. Highly Recommended."
Buzz Haughton, UC Davis, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Provides a critically needed and eloquent medium for educating Californians (and others) about the growing threat of urbanization to the earth's most productive farming region - the San Joaquin Valley. Interviews, maps, and spectacular footage of the kind of large-scale agriculture that characterizes the Valley provide city-dwellers with a much-needed reminder of where the majority of their fruits and vegetables come from, and of how that production is endangered by rising land values and encroaching development. The time for a comprehensive plan to preserve the state's best soils is long overdue; I hope that Valley at the Crossroads will spur a public debate about what we must do to assure the supply of food which is as vital to national security as petroleum reserves."
Gray Brechin, co-author (with Robert Dawson) of Farewell, Promised Land: Waking up from the California Dream
"Clearly documents the tragic -- and unnecessary -- degradation of America's greatest agricultural region by sprawling land development."
Tom Hylton, Pulitzer Prize winning author Save Our Land, Save Our Towns
"A well-balanced audio and visual presentation...Stunning visuals...Classes across the curriculum, especially environment and social studies, can utilize the video to launch debates and research into land use problems faced by people across America and the world."
School Library Journal
Awards and Festivals
CINE Golden Eagle
Best Short Documentary, Environmental Media Association Awards
Best Video, Fresno County Farm Bureau Journalism Awards
Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
Second Place in Category, EarthVision Environmental Film Festival
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
Marin Environmental Film Festival
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