Redefining Prosperity: The Gold Rushes of Nevada City

“Born in the California Gold Rush, Nevada City was once the scene of some of the most destructive environmental practices on earth.  By the 1960s, the town was a backwater, its extractive industries dying.  Then it was discovered by the ‘back to the land movement.’  It was a second gold rush but with a different idea of gold based on nature, community and a sense of place. The Yuba River brought conflicting factions of the community together while different ideas about the meaning of wealth have led to changes in local food production, education, arts, music and a commitment to building community. Redefining Prosperity: The Gold Rushes of Nevada City includes two dozen of Nevada City’s most active citizens and their stories.” For more information, visit

TBTW Funding Trailer from Greg Davis on Vimeo.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

12 thoughts on “Redefining Prosperity: The Gold Rushes of Nevada City”

  1. Jeff:

    When I clicked on the link earlier, I was able to watch the full version. Now, when I tried to send my wife the link, it ‘s the funding trailer only with a notation that the full version is private (which is understandable, so I’m not complaining).

    Sure glad I clicked on the original link –– and thanks for posting it. It’s a great story told by people who have made some damn important contributions to the town and surrounding area. Hope to see it on PBS or some other network soon so that my friends here in Florida can learn more about a very special place.

    1. Hi Steve,
      The entire film was posted on Vimeo by accident and it went viral on Facebook, according to Reinette Senum. I suggested that rather than “pull down” the film all together and disappoint people, the film maker just link to a trailer — so that was the solution. The film maker apologized. There are plans to air the film on KVIE. Happy New Year!

    1. Mr. Cotrell,

      I have not seen the full video, but in the promo there was no mention of the Nisenan and their long and successful stewardship of these lands. I do hope there was some small mention of these magnificent people and their descendants in the full length film.

      1. Judith,
        “Oh thee of little faith,” as Mom used to put it. The full-length production includes a wonderful discussion with Ms. Covert about the Nisenan. I hope you get to see it!

  2. Speaking of the new prosperity, I got in my truck today and the radio came on to KNCO where I heard the tail end of a PSA brought to us by Dollar General. I didn’t hear enough of it to catch the subject of their concern, but I don’t recall ever hearing a PSA sponsored by the aforementioned corporation (and the ‘ad council’ whoever that is) that is seeking to open stores locally. Perhaps they are trying to generate a little goodwill to get the stores approved that were rejected.

  3. I was lucky to see the full version of “Redefining Prosperity”- beautiful.
    Last night at the screening of Wild and Scenic films at the Nevada Theatre for locals we were treated to this –

  4. What sad sacks on Todd’s blog:
    “Barry Pruett, January 19, 2018 at 6:56 AM
    Pelline is a tool. Lol. Many native Californians think that California is all that and a bowl of cherries, but over the past 20 Years, the rest of the country went from viewing California as the golden state to a joke. Now people in California are seeing that and leaving in droves. The next 20 Years will be interesting as the debts pile up here and the money leaves.”

    The home of Silicon Valley, world-class universities and the world’s #11 (or #6) economy (depending on the analysis) is a “joke”? Why doesn’t he move back to Harvey, IL.? We have some real bumpkins in this community.

  5. Here’s one for Mike Pence and local yocals like Barry Pruett to chew on! Go figure.
    States most dependent on the federal government:
    #10, Indiana: “Like many other Midwest states, Indiana has experienced a tough go of it economically in recent years. It’s a part of the Rust Belt, and many of the state’s jobs have been outsourced or replaced with automation. The manufacturing jobs that supported many communities are simply gone. The tax base has shrunk as a result, and opportunities have dried up.”

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