Sweet and Sour Citrus documents histories of Inland Southern California, from citrus to logistics. It highlights stories of people and place, and the impacts of industry on both.

We call it pulp nonfiction. That’s because we squeeze meaning out of the really juicy past, which is sometimes sweet, often sour, and always sticky.

Sweet and Sour Citrus goes beyond the peel, to sort out global and local issues related to migration and immigration and to unpack complexities around race, gender, and their intersections, particularly in the Inland SoCal region. This is fertile ground for digging deeper into the roots of colonization and empire, the Inland Empire, particularly–a label applied to this part of California that is itself packed with meaning.

orange and lime illustrations


Sweet and Sour Citrus began in 2016 as a series of family festivals and other events launching the Relevancy & History (R&H) Project partnership between the Public History Program at the University of California, Riverside, and California Citrus State Historic Park. R&H aims to uplift the voices of people who have not historically been heard. The project cultivates new university classes, research, and educational tools to reinterpret citrus heritage in the region and at the Park through creative engagement and partnerships. It creates pathways for employment at California State Parks and related fields, for a new generation, representative of California’s diversity and demographics.

R&H has flowered through ongoing partnerships and collaborations with community-based groups, historical societies, museums, and other universities. New branches of the R&H Project partnership are growing across the state, most recently at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. R&H has cross-pollinated with other juicy projects, sampled here under the canopy of Collaborations and whose offshoots include A People’s History of the Inland Empire.

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