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¡§When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I

Citrus Farms of California                                 Davoud Tu


Douglas Cazaux Sackman is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Puget Sound.  Sackman was awarded the Martin Ridge Award for his insight on Historical Society of Southern California.  All of Sackman¡¦s life he took fruits and vegetables for granted.  When he matured he then realized that plants were symbols of health, wealth and sunshine.  Sackman learned the essence of nature and its landscape from his parents.



The foundation for Douglas Cazaux Sackman¡¦s ideals are ¡§miners make a mining landscape; farmers an agrarian one; and so on, up to the city builders.¡¨1 He believes in order to grow; things must work their way up gradually. California was not merely a state that lay on the west coast but a state of vast amount of opportunity.  It started with California¡¦s agricultural exports being spread throughout the country and as a result, big agricultural companies were formed.  To this day California has the most potential of all states in the United States because of superior size, agriculture, and also technology. In Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden, Sackman¡¦s documents explains the establishment of agriculture in Southern California. 

The fastest growing city in California is Los Angeles.  Sackman believes that ¡§growth and Los Angeles seemed near synonyms.¡¨2 Los Angeles has changed immensely since the days of agriculture.  In the 1890s the population of Los Angeles was about 5,700 and in the 1930s the population quickly grew to about 1,200,000. Los Angeles grew from a Spanish colony to one of the leading cities of industry in the world.  Sackman, then states that the city of Los Angeles strikes fear into those who hear its name because it is now polluted with smog and can easily be seen from afar.  The landscape has been completely altered since the late 1800s after oil was discovered in 1892; Los Angeles then became the leading distributor of it by the 20th century. California was an ideal landscape from the perspective of Manifest Destiny because of having good weather, agricultural soil, and vast amounts of jobs blessed it.  California was on the path of being discovered and finally was as of 1848. California became an American Frontier because of the Gold Rush, a common place where many people went because of vast amount of opportunities.  The opportunities left behind by the Gold Rush only meant settlement in California.  In the 1870s California was reconstructed into a garden with the orange as its exemplary fruit. Sackman then explains about ¡§The Finished Products of Their Environment¡¨ in Chapter 5.  The leading agricultural companies wanted to keep a reputable border with Mexico in order for them to employ workers on a non-risk basis, allowing them to hire all the workers they wanted and not be obligated in carrying for them.  This also allowed them to hire all the workers they wanted with very little pay.   Although the job didn¡¦t require the workers in endure strenuous labor, it didn¡¦t want to hurt the citizens who have civil rights in the United States. The Commission of Agriculture believed that the key to creating harmonious labor relations lay in managing the bodies and spatial experiences of workers.  This meant that the workers needed to learn how to work together and their experience will get better from learning from one another. He states in his book states that, ¡§ultimately the commission hoped to lead California away from its reliance on the migratory labor single men and toward a system that would allow families to thrive among the agricultural working class.¡¨3 Agricultural employers ignored the advice given by the Commission and therefore paid the price, the citrus industry listened to the message of the home ecology and that is why they were rich and successful.  Many other states greatly envied California and all the potential that it held. Organization is what helps unify all the workers and the key to success.

Annually there is a convention that California Fruit Growers attend, which is a place where they can meet and share their new ideals and methods for growing. At one of the California Fruit Growers Convention it was said,  ¡§the old Californio was introduced to the growers as the man who had originally ¡¥laid out this country.¡¦¡¨ General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was the most famous of all Californios and he told his audience that ¡¥no better climate is found anywhere.¡¦¡¨4 During this time Old California was arranged for the growers to just do their duty and make plants grow.  Sackman believed California already had the weather for agriculture; all it needed were the right tools and people for cultivation.  The status quo of the growers of California was to grow fruits, vegetables, and plants. Sackman said that California¡¦s biggest dream was to see a place with perfect plants and people.  Although they wanted California to become the most efficient and biggest grower of plants in the U.S., they felt as if bigger was not always better.  Herbert John Webber, a plant physiologist, was interested in improving plants as well as being interested in genetics.  The opponent to his idea was Muller, a geneticist, believed that biological evolution is the constant of mutation and is the central problem.  Sackman had a counterpart to his ideas and was impelled by the ideas of the great Upton Sinclair.   Sinclair loved nature and not so fond of humans but admitted ¡§man is a part of nature and a product of nature,¡¨ he felt ¡§ the modern civilized man had revised and even supplanted the processes of nature. In Sackman¡¦s eyes ¡§poverty was simply an artificial creation, the result of dividing up nature¡¦s bounty into the private property out of which economic empires are created.¡¨  What Sackman was trying to declare is poverty is just a mindset and it¡¦s only mental and poverty and rich people are divided up because private property is a creation of the governments doing.

As a result of the vast amount of exotic oranges, industries such as Sunkist soared.  The Green Revolution was a result of big companies becoming leading industries in California and the book confirmed, ¡§The Green Revolution was a kind of growling frenzy in which millions of barrels of oil-in the form of insecticides, fertilizers, and gasoline-powered farm machinery-were used to create tremendous quantities of food.¡¨5  During this period, agriculturalists were just obsessed with money and did not care how their food was fabricated as long as it got to their destination.  The Green Revolution disturbed rural cultures, amplified reliance on machinery, and destroyed environments.  Because of the way food was being engineered, insects started swarming crops and as a result growers started to fumigate which was a sure sign that they were still in control of their crops. It was then Sunkist¡¦s time to reign as the leading orange industry after the riots of the Green Revolution. Sunkist needed the sun according to Sackman, ¡§in its quest to replace oranges with nature, Sunkist¡¦s trump card was of course the sun.¡¨6 Without it, its company was done for and its message to send to the public eye is that oranges should be eaten everyday.  In the year 1928 Sunkist established its presence by being the second leading drink behind Coca-Cola, and launched its first program commercial, which pulled in 15 million viewers watching.  Sunkist¡¦s advertisement had something to do with offering a fantasy of landscape of Citrus and California for people in living places far from the Fabricated Eden and for that reason all the more attracted to it. Sunkist believed that labor supply and housing conditions were fundamentally linked.

Sackman was not only interested in agriculture but he was also interested in health.  He explained how natural fruits and vitamins could improve someone¡¦s health, by asserting, ¡§Vitamin C is the anti-infection vitamin that is so important to normal growth and the development of sturdy bones and sound teeth¡K.C is needed each day.¡¨7  Vitamin C is the essence of all oranges; Sackman believes that oranges are important to daily life.  Vitamin C is the vitamin that helps fight the sickness when a person is ill and is essential for daily life.  In the 19th century it was believed that oranges could cure anything (because of the Vitamin C) even the fearful malaria. Non-residential Californians misunderstood the connection between oranges and California.  They believed that all California was concerned about was growing oranges.  The non-Californians envied the residents of California because of their economic growth that they had recently been through.  Sackman also tells of the cheap labor source.  Most observers of California agriculture agree that ¡§cheap labor¡¨ provided by migrant groups was the fuel powering agricultural growth that California needed.  Growers were losing $1.5 million annually because of the construction of the railroads.  By August 2, 1913 workers were fed up with their working conditions, they eventually made a list of demands and went on strike.  Growers thought they were making a change in their working environment making an unbiased work place.

Sackman¡¦s main purpose for writing Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden was to show how California growers established California agriculture and the prosperity of the land. Sackman was environmentally friendly and cared much for agriculture, he knew that the way of life for California was agriculture and one of the only way he could explain this exceeding way of life is telling how much the orange industry grew and citrus farms.  To Sackman California agriculture was the only thing that mattered but health as well. He explained, ¡§under the doctrines of the ¡¥newer nutrition,¡¦ good health was not just a matter of abstaining from bad food, but the result of taking in the right vitamins and minerals.¡¨8  To have good health it is not such an easy job.  A person must work to eat right and know what is good to eat and what is bad to eat.  Along with that a person should take in the right amount of vitamins and minerals daily. He analyzes the growth of a great state and proves its potential with his ongoing facts and statistics.  1848 when Gold was discovered, it triggered thousands of people to come and migrate to California.  Because of people migrating to California, they established themselves with the environment and it became a permanent housing situation.  California was then noticed as a state of great potential. To Sackman an ideal family is a male head hard worker, the house and children are neat and the yard is full of vegetables and fruits.

Douglas Cazaux Sackman provided information in his book mainly to support his beliefs in California agriculture.  The thesis Sackman provided us with throughout his novel was valid.  Sackman gets inside the skin of an orange and analyzes the aspects of California agriculture. He said, ¡§Gardening became a source of livelihood and pride.  Southern Californians grew fruit trees and they grew ornamental trees.  Their identity, and economy, became fixed to plants.¡¨9 Growing plants of the Orange Empire became their identity.  He believes that agriculture in Southern California wouldn¡¦t be so successful without the two essential components, the weather and cultivation. He considers California agriculture as a gift from God and its diversity made it useful for all types of economical use.

Steven Stoll a professor of history at Yale stated that, ¡§historians have known about the orange business for a long time, none ever assembled a more subtle, expansive, and intricate narrative than Douglas Sackman's Orange Empire.¡¨10  Stoll understood that Sackman gathered bits and ideas of information about oranges and California agriculture and put it all in one book.  Stoll explain his critiques with the utmost respect for Sackman.  Paul Rhode from the Department of economics and alumni to the University of North Carolina declared that, ¡§but the heart of the work is the analysis of citrus marketing.¡¨11  He understood that it wasn¡¦t easy for Sackman to gather all the bits of knowledge for his book. Overall, the book showed an extensive use of research and confirmed his thorough knowledge of the subject. 

Sackman is a legitimate source to pursue if a person wants to follow up information regarding California agriculture. He did believe that California was greatly affected by eastern United States although most of its agricultural aiding came from Central American. He believed so because if it weren¡¦t for the Gold Rush it would have taken America a long to realize the infinite amounts of opportunities that lay in California.  He tells us a story of himself white editing his book one day while receiving a crate of oranges in the mail.  He then tells that the oranges reminded himself about agriculture and the citrus farms and tells us the establishment of Southern California.  The book goes just beyond agriculture it tells us how the state of California matured into a grand one.  It reaches out to all people interested in not just agriculture but a way of life. Oranges were the gold of California and a product the nation needed to unify itself.  This quote explains his view on Mother Nature, ¡§Diego Rivera, a Mexican muralists, painted what another friend called ¡¥the heroic figure of California, the mother, the giver.¡¦¡¨12  Mother Nature was the pride and joy of California and Sackman saw her as ¡§the giver¡¨ to a rich economy.  The book is clearly a wonderful choice for a history of California agriculture with its vast amount knowledge of the subject.  Sackman does a terrific job incorporating his thoughts and includes various amounts of details in his book.

How was California¡¦s agriculture so prosperous?  California has superior weather to many other states and countries as well.  However not all credit can go to weather because a lot of it had to do with the growers and agriculturalists.  The migrants that come from other countries had experience growing plants especially the Mexicans.  California didn¡¦t want establish a definite border with the Mexicans because they wanted a cheap source for labor.  It was certain that California was destined to be great according to this quote, ¡§California boosters had been adding a new episode to the story of Manifest Destiny.  It was about the role of workers.  The California Farmer was sure that ¡¥California was destined to become a large grower.¡¦¡¨13 California was first an established colony by the Spaniards.  They set the standard for agriculture during this time period and new how it worked.  They had various theories for cultivation

How did the agriculture affect California in the long run?  California was successful because of all the opportunities that were created.  California is the most populated state in the nation and will continue to prosper.  California also flourished because great companies led it and it helped connect the United States through the use of agriculture. Sackman stated that at the conventions, ¡§the very purpose of the convention was for fruit growers to share information on how to improve fruit growing.¡¨14  If gold wasn¡¦t found in San Francisco in 1848 it would not have put California on the map as it did.  As a result of California being noticed as a state this created opportunities all around the state.  This allowed California to grow and become successful. Some were pulled into the success of agriculture and were pulled into the successful way of life. 

Douglas Cazaux Sackman, the author of Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden, incorporates his thoughts on California agriculture in the late 19th century to 20th century.  His book includes great examples of agriculture using citrus farms as a reference.  Sackman writes about creating a perfect society first off he talks about Fabricating Eden, Working in the Garden, and finally Reclaiming Eden.  Theses three topics are the support for the rest of his book and are the key essentials for making a Utopian Society.  Sackman felt, ¡§the landscape of Southern California became deeply infused with market forces and bound up in a web of economic, political, and ecological exchanges that spanned the globe.¡¨15  This quote reveals that Sackman believed that California had just the right amount of a combination of economic, political, and ecological differences to set up this lasting foundation.  Growers in California put their heart and soul into creating California¡¦s prosperous agriculture.  They deserve the utmost respect to their contributions and their sacrifices.

1. Sackman, Douglas. Orange Empire California and the Fruits of Eden. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. 25

2. Sackman, 24

3. Sackman, 170

4. Sackman, 56

5. Sackman, 81

6. Sackman, 88

7. Sackman, 110

8. Sackman, 167

9. Sackman, 23

10. Stoll, Steven. "Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden (Book Review)." Environmental History Jan 2006 2 Jun 2008 <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3854/is_200601/ai_n17177350>.

11. Rhode, Paul. "Rhode on Sackman, Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden and Karlinsky, California Dreaming: Ideology, Society, and Technology in the Citrus Industry of Palestine, 1890-1939." EH.NET 14 Nov 2006 2 Jun 2008 <http://eh.net/pipermail/eh.net-review/2006-November/000362.html>.

12. Sackman, 3

13. Sackman, 143

14. Sackman, 54

15. Sackman, 24