Thursday, July 14, 2011


At Marx Farm, there are lines everywhere between industrial production and self-production. The lines that I am referring to are not connectives, I come to think, but more like those produced by somewhat randomly connecting a series of points on a plane. They signal layers and multiply. There are ruins, recycleds, and growth. Behind everything are the finely scripted and worn pages of notes that are part of the elaborate eco-system. The farm is a block of land with rows of vegetables—eggplant, kale, purple and green cabbage, corn, cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, celery, peas, broccoli—and herbs. Upcoming, a chicken coop. The fields that surround it, then, are owned by the people who let Mark keep up his plot. They are corn fields and berry fields, from all appearances, heavily doused with pesticide in the evening, which clouds up and over in light plumes. The smell of the pesticide is noxious and invasive. Greenhouses, low and white peaked. Beyond the immediate fields that surround, there are signs of another complex, a tractored, leveled hill , construction at work, trees, more green, and then further beyond, barely peaking from the trees, the three skyscrapers of downtown Cleveland. Train tracks where trains often pass in both directions. The gravel parking lot, upon which sit some seedlings and the tables where the produce is collected, is also home to a computer- and medical equipment recycling warehouse. The field itself is littered with china, cracked bits and pieces from some former dish factory. Mark is weed tolerant, and thistles adorn.

Purple star thistle, red clover. The cantaloupe looks like a weed, trampled upon at the edge of the herbs. It is a place on the edge, it’s easy to feel on the edge of many things there, not of the world perhaps, but of several different ones, whose common factors are more like collisions.