California’s Central Valley Is Designing the Future of American Agriculture

Drought-resistant pistachio orchards at Gilkey Ranch near Five Points, California. (Photo: Jonno Rattman/Bay Nature) Inside a climate-controlled laboratory at the Duarte Nursery outside Modesto, an experiment is taking place that could help determine what food we will eat for decades to come. Rows of steel racks contain numerous tiny almond, apple, walnut, pomegranate, pecan, avocado, fig, and pistachio trees in small, translucent plastic cylinders. The saplings, planted in a high-nutrient agar mix that accelerates growth, are no more than two inches high and a few weeks old. Each is being subjected to versions of the stresses experienced just outside these walls in fields across the Central Valley: declining levels of water, escalating levels of salt. The big overarching, if unmentionable, force driving these experiments is climate change, which is beginning to roil the Central Valley. Duarte, one of the largest commercial nurseries in the world, specializes in tree nuts and fruits, which have boomed across the valley in recent decades. Founded four decades ago, the nursery grew rapidly as water piped into the valley from the Sierras gave birth to the most bounteous center for...

Persistent evictions threaten Detroit neighborhoods

This conversation is moderated according to USA TODAY’s community rules. Please read the rules before joining the discussion. Since the Detroit landlord refused to fix the sewage backups in the basement, Richard Johnson Jr. helped tenant Latasha Tucker suck out a mix of sewage and black sludge three times a week. LaTasha Tucker, left, and Richard Johnson, 53, both of Detroit, carry items out of the house. Tucker stopped paying her $500-a-month rent when the landlord refused to fix the sewage backup. While Tucker looked for a new home, she sucked the bio-hazard mix out through a basement window with a garden hose and sump pump three times a week, then lit kiwi-scented incense to mask the smell before her kids would come home from school.(Photo: Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)Buy Photo Families in one out of five Detroit rentals face eviction every year, a persistent churn that uproots thousands, destabilizes neighborhoods and schools and even threatens the health and safety of residents, a Detroit News investigation has found. The News analyzed nearly 285,000 eviction cases since 2009 — the first time this data has ever been examined — and found, for example, that in 2015...