A Journey Through Oligarch Valley

Yasha Levine heads up California's I-5 and discovers the putrid truth lurking beneath Central Valley.

This stretch of Interstate-5 runs in an absolute straight line for 250 coma-inducing miles through an endless expanse of farmland, orchards, arid dirt, howling winds, spooky rural desolation and clouds of airborne fecal matter. It’s the main road connecting Northern and Southern California and the trick to navigating it is to set your cruise control to as close to 100 mph as you dare and gun it, eyes peeled for the sleek black CHP cruisers that prowl the highway.

The 5 bisects the Central Valley, a giant tub 450 miles long and 50 miles wide in the heart of California. It is not a place in which motorists dawdle or on which any sane human mind dwells—and that suits the people who own it just fine. The area along the 5 from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles County is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States. The last thing they need is people realizing this and asking themselves,

“Hmmm, I wonder who owns all this cow shit?”

Adapted from NSFWCORP Print, issue #4, published June 19, 2013.

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A Journey Through Oligarch Valley

Yasha Levine heads up California's I-5 and discovers the putrid truth lurking beneath Central Valley.

A report by Yasha Levine

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