Heading to California’s Annual Organic-Farming Woodstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


At California’s annual Eco-Farm conference, some 1,400-1,500 organic farmers, farmhands, Big Organic marketers, and sundry sustainable-ag enthusiasts pack into a rustic, beautiful seaside conference center an hour-and-a-half south of San Francisco to talk seeds, weeds, and agribiz misdeeds amid the dunes. I loved it when I attended in 2008. At the Asilomar center overlooking Monterery Bay—incidentally, the site of a seminal meeting of scientists and lawyers about how to proceed with GMO research way back in 1975—there’s no brain-sucking hotel auditorium, no day upon day of artificial light and processed air. Break-out sessions take place in scattered bungalows, linked by trails through rolling dunes. The low roar in the background isn’t some infernal highway; rather, waves lashing up against a rocky shore. It’s a bit like summer camp for sustainable-ag nerds: You wind up outdoors a lot, wandering from activity to activity, often pelted by rain.

I’ll be there for the next several days, filing dispatches as possible. I’m also giving a talk on how it’s up to communities to create alternative food systems in an era of outright industry capture of regulation and food policy. Here is the schedule.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest