Recent Work, News & Updates


Uganda's Anti-Gay Witch Hunt Has Officially Begun

My story in VICE about the impact of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act on refugee communities and the organizations that serve them. http://www.vice.com/read/ugandas-anti-gay-witch-hunt-has-officially-begun-627

But now simply advocating for or providing services to a gay person can be interpreted as "promoting homosexuality," a crime with passage of the new law. Already, civil rights organizations are being punished for their advocacy on behalf of gays in Uganda. In two separate letters dated March and May of this year, the government suspended direct service activities of the Refugee Law Project, a Uganda-based pioneer in international migration law and refugee protection, based on allegations that the organization was "promoting homosexuality" in refugee communities.

What, exactly, does the "promotion of homosexuality" look like? It’s a perplexing notion, and the law itself is troublingly vague. "As an organization we already made clear our position that we don't even believe it's possible to promote homosexuality," says Dr. Chris Dolan, the Refugee Law Project’s Executive Director—since homosexuality is not a choice. "Of course we believe it is possible to protect the rights of LGBTI people, and that that is our responsibility." Read More

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons


An Urgent Humanitarian Crisis?

More on unaccompanied minors--and their need for legal support, in VQR.


And here's my feature story on unaccompanied minors from VQR last year, published at the early stages of this current surge.



Unaccompanied Minor News Roundup in VICE

Due to the overwhelming number of kids crossing the border alone, everyone's talking about unaccompanied minors these days. Having covered this issue for the past year and a half, it's an important one to me. Here's my recent news roundup in VICE: "Unaccompanied Minors: A Growing Crisis."


Napa Valley of Hard Cider

An article I wrote for Modern Farmer about the reincarnation of the cider orchards of yore. Prohibition killed hard cider, once the household alcoholic beverage of choice--who knew? 



"Gentrification & the Urban Garden" in The New Yorker.com

My new story about urban farming and neighborhood gentrification is up today at The New Yorker.com.



Between Meals: Recipes and Stories from the Bay Area's Refugee Women

After months of hard work and collaboration, we've completed Between Meals--a cookbook that features recipes and stories from a dozen refugee cooks resettled to the Bay area. It's for sale here at Lulu.com.

About the Book: An innovative narrative cookbook, Between Meals shares the expertise, recipes and stories of newly-arrived refugee women in the Bay Area. This book documents traditional recipes from around the world--from Burma to Liberia to Afghanistan--from Refugee Transitions' participants, written down with the help of their Refugee Transitions tutors. Between Meals tells the stories of students' exile from their home countries, their journeys to the United States, and their efforts--literally and metaphorically--to nourish their families in their new California homes. 



"The Lost Boys of California" published in Vice Magazine

My article on unaccompanied immigrant farmworker youth in California's Central Valley is out this month in the great Vice Magazine: http://m.vice.com/read/the-lost-boys-of-california-0000258-v21n3

This reporting was funded by the 11th Hour Food & Farming Journalism Fellowship at UC Berkeley, where I had the immense fortune of working with Michael Pollan, Malia Wollan, an inspiring team of fellow fellowesses, and guest editors Jack Hitt and Alan Burdick. It was like winning the lottery.

For all its bounty, there’s something about the landscape of California’s Central Valley that feels diseased. Just a few miles from Ernesto’s house in Mendota, the air is a heavy brown-gray, polluted by the trucks that pass through on Highway 99, carrying produce to be packed and shipped and stocked onto shelves at Safeways and Hannafords across the country. The pollution clouds the rays of light that shine on the fields, smudging the horizon lines and the silhouettes of crops. The fields, too, in towns like Mendota and Huron and Raisin City, feel exquisitely toxic. As productive as they are, and as heavy with bloom and fruit, the plants are subtly listless in their rows and rows, lacking vibrancy. It’s a battered landscape, excavated and plucked and pumped for every last bit it can give.

Photo Credit: Matt Black


New Fiction in The American Literary Review

My story "Just a Cupful" was just published in the American Literary Review: http://www.americanliteraryreview.com/lauren-markham---just-a-cupful.html

As she pulls into Galisteo this thin, bright morning on the road alone with Manny, she thinks to herself how maybe she is built like a desert: rocks, quills, sand, scales, always feeling thirsty. The spiny chola catch the early light and glow. She used to make mobiles out of them when she was little and get them stuck in her hands. Even then she understood the unlikelihood of all the things that poke out of this dry soil, the conditions we’re all—plants, animals, people—expected to survive. 


Reporting on Migrant Labor in Salinas, CA

Here I am interviewing young farm workers in Driscoll strawberry fields as part of my reporting for the 11th Hour Food & Farming Journalism Fellowship. Resulting article forthcoming in a few months.... (Photo Credit: Alejandra Valadez)


Refugee Transitions' "Between Meals" Cookbook featured on KQED

Between Meals is a collection of immigrant women's stories and recipes (coming out in February). This is a project I'm working on in conjunction with Bay Area agency Refugee Transitions and Dani Fisher--as well as a dozen inspiring cooks. Listen to the story on KQED or on PRI's The World.