Jason Mark

Jason Mark is the editor of Earth Island Journal and the co-manager of San Francisco's Alemany Farm. He is the coauthor, with Kevin Danaher, of Insurrection: Citizen Challenges to Corporate Power.

Urban Agriculture

By growing food, Occupy the Farm helps a movement grow up

With the takeover of a University of California agricultural testing station, Occupiers move from envisioning a new world to creating one.

The U.S. organic cotton industry has a tough row to hoe

The view from the Panoche Cotton Gin outside Firebaugh, Calif., reveals a great deal about the state of the cotton industry in the U.S. A generation ago, fields of cotton surrounded the gin as far as the eye could see. Today, the gin — a warehouse-sized plant that can clean and bundle dozens of tons of cotton a day — is flanked on all sides by almond orchards, groves upon groves of the tall trees. An endangered species? Photo: iStockphoto “Cotton used to be king — it was our No. 1 crop,” Joseph Maron, the operations supervisor for the gin, …

Workers on organic farms are treated as poorly as their conventional counterparts

When Elena Ortiz found a job on an organic raspberry farm after working for nine years in conventionally farmed fields, she was glad for the change. The best part about her new job was that she no longer had to work just feet away from tractors spraying chemical herbicides and pesticides. An added bonus was the fruit itself — “prettier,” she said, and firmer, which made it easier to pick. Better living without chemicals? Photos: iStockphoto But when it came to how Ortiz was treated by her employers, little was different. Her pay remained meager: $500 a week at peak …

Could the battle for South Central Farm be coming to a close?

The scene at South Central Farm would look familiar to anyone who’s ever attended a multi-day protest: there’s a makeshift kitchen to feed the masses, a small sound stage, a tent for banner-making. But the kitchen is preparing nopales quesadillas instead of vegan stew, the stage features a Norteño band replete with cowboy hats, and the banner-makers are nine-year-old Latina girls. Que Dios bendiga esta jardin, reads one sign: God bless this garden. Situated among the warehouses, railroad tracks, and truck depots of industrial Los Angeles, South Central Farm is something of an oasis, and it’s become a vital food …

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