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Arts & Culture

"Westlands: A Water Story" Takes An Artistic Look At Valley Agriculture

westlands.jpg
Randi Lynn Beach
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used with permission
Starlings near Firebaugh

California's mammoth feats of water engineering in the 20th century turned the barren west side of the San Joaquin Valley into the most productive farmland in the world. But in the 21st century, as society's appreciation of the environmental costs of these water diversions, many have questioned whether west side farms will last into the next century. Combined with the threats of drought, climate change, and increasing salinity, the question is fertile ground for photojournalist Randi Lynn Beach.

Her new collection of fine art photography is titled "Westlands: A Water Story." The book and accompanying documentary capture images of the people and the place that is the largest agricultural water district in the state - Westlands. Inspired by the work of French realist painter Jean-Francois Millet and his works of peasant farmers, Beach captures images of a California that many urban residents have not seen. She joined us to on Valley Edition to talk about this latest project, which follows several others that look at global agriculture.