Bacon Bits

Van Gogh’s Starry Night rendered in bacon (via Doug Harvey)


With the death of print advertising venues, publicists are, apparently, desperately reaching out to bloggers to hype their client’s offerings. The result? Take a look at this tempest over garden bloggers taking ad revenue and going on junkets. Normally I compost publicist’s attempts to get mentioned on this blog into April Fool’s Day hoaxes. But, at the risk of dispensing free publicity, I had to share this one:

River Run Village in Keystone, Colorado is going whole hog this summer when the Blue River Bacon Tour comes to town . . . Over 3,000 pounds of bacon from a variety of purveyors will be on hand for sampling at the Bacon Showcase alongside live music and bacon lectures compliments of Leo Landis, Professor of Baconology. Yes, that’s his job!

The Blue Ribbon Bacon package is available for $35 and includes admission to the three-day event, a commemorative hat, $10 in Bacon Bucks, a beer koozie, unlimited bacon samples at the Bacon Showcase, live music, bacon educational lectures, and a free drink. General admission tickets are also available for $30 per person.

Keystone’s award winning golf courses are extending special offers to bacon lovers who wish to burn off some of those delicious calories. Tee off after 5pm on June 24-26 and the cost is $55 per person.

While indulging in all things bacon, Keystone Resort is offering rooms from $109 per night.

Bacon bucks? Is this a currency backed by bacon? Will this result in a mass “quantitative easing” at the Keystone Resort after “indulging in all things bacon?”

A note to publicists: While I enjoy your creativity, I’m guided by this quote from the late Terence McKenna. Do a little reading before clogging up my in-box with press releases. I’m not against advertising, but if we ever take on any sponsors they have to gibe with our goals and must be kept separate from our editorial content.

Elderly and Barefoot–that’s how I plan to be

See, even Plato was rockin’ the barefoot look

Mrs. Homegrown here:

Erik is the Thoughtstylist™ in this house, but I’m going to step up on the Stylin’ Platform for a change. As regular readers know, Erik is into barefoot running. I barefoot walk, and am working my way into barefoot running.

Our neighborhood is full of long, steep staircases devoid of handrails. I go up and down these on my walks. When I’m in running shoes, I feel insecure on these staircases–I really watch my step, lest I end up sprawled on the bottom like an Aztec sacrifice. No matter what I do, I always feel like I’m about to pitch forward on my face.

Contrast that to doing the stairs barefoot. When I’m barefoot I feel completely safe. On the way down, my toes grab the edge of each stair, automatically. Going up, I’m high on the ball of my feet, and don’t worry about catching a toe and tripping.

This led me to realize, on a visceral level, that when you’re barefoot, you’re very surefooted. Your foot is conforming to the terrain, and the nerves in your foot are sending a constant flow of feedback to your brain. You walk more lightly–not more hesitantly, but with more awareness.

Surefootedness becomes more important to me now that I’m past 40 and staring down the gullet of my elder years. I also have older family members, and I’m sure most of you do. We all know that one of the biggest threat to the elderly are falls. And falls happen because as we get older, and less active, we lose coordination, strength, and balance.

My thoughtstyling, in a nutshell, was that older folks should spend more time barefoot. Being barefoot really wakes up your senses and trains you to be surefooted.

Of course it can be hard for elderly people to care for their feet, so they need to take time to build up callouses that will protect their feet from cuts. That process can happen in a shorter period time, with work, but it’s easier if we’ve been going barefoot all our life…or at least since our 40’s.

No one may agree with me, but I for one plan to be a barefooted elder. And I’m going to start leaning on my mother about it, too.

I was pleased to find my thoughstyling backed up in this book Erik bought recently. It’s called Barefoot Running, and has a special section on transitioning to barefoot for the elderly and less mobile. The author makes the same arguments that I am here, just somewhat more articulately. Overall it’s a really good book on the basic mechanics of barefooting, how to build up callouses, how to approach weather and different terrains, etc. It also has some not so valuable stuff on diet and stretching and spirituality, as if it’s trying to be a book about all things–but for the basic barefoot stuff, it’s great.

Why We Travel By Train

Amtrak ain’t this grand, but it’s a lot better than flying! Photo via the Library of Congress.

We’re headed up to Northern California, Oregon and Washington to promote our new book Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World. And, with the exception of the San Francisco to Seattle leg, we’re traveling by train. Why do this when it’s more expensive, time consuming and probably makes our dear publisher Rodale think we’re crazy?

One word: dignity. With train travel:

  • No porno-scanners or groping, i.e., no unconstitutional searches.
  • I can carry my multi-tool.
  • Leg room.
  • If I don’t like where I’m sitting I can move.
  • I can relax, sit at a table, read, work and write.

I could rant about the superiority of rail travel at length but Archdruid John Michal Greer sums it up better than I can in a blog post, “Too Much Energy?” No more flightmares for the Root Simple team!

See a list of our appearances here

Paleofuture Farming

From the awesome Paleofuture blog, which chronicles what folks thought the future would look like, a few notions of future farming.

Apparently, this anticipated future (which more or less came to pass) involved “lounge chair gardening.”

And, of course, factory farming:


To the generation that came up with these ideas I’ll just say that I hope the dinosaur juice that keeps those factory farms humming holds out. Personally, I’m not counting on gardening from the comfort of that hovering lounge chair while I oversee my hydroponic skyscraper operation (architects still seem to be in love with vertical farming schemes). My inner crank tells me that we might just might have get our hands dirty again. But, I have to admit, that top photo does approximate what it looks like to create Root Simple blog posts.

Urban Homestead, Urban Homesteading: These Terms Belong to All of Us


Our attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the law firm, Winston & Strawn, have filed a petition to cancel the bogus trademark registrations for the terms “Urban Homestead” and “Urban Homesteading.”

You may read the EFF’s press release here, and the actual petition here. It is a thing of beauty. We are very fortunate to have access to the talents of some of the best people in this business.

We hope that this petition will prevail for everybody’s sake. It goes without saying that these trademark registrations are ridiculous and hurtful and an insult to the generosity of spirit which is integral to this movement. We help each other–we don’t hold each other back.

Our lawyers tell us that the petitioning process takes a while, so don’t expect lots of news right off the bat. Just know that the wheels of justice are turning.

(If this is all news to you, read this previous EFF post on the subject. And here’s our own original post.)

Los Angeles Announces Parkway Cemetery Program

Merging interest in “green” burials and urban land remediation, the City of Los Angeles just announced a groundbreaking new program: parkway cemeteries. Like many cities across America, Los Angeles has a huge debt, $350 million to put a number on it. So it comes as no surprise that city officials are seeking innovative ways of enhancing revenue sources. 

Most often a tangle of weeds and compacted earth, parkways have seen attention in recent years as space for community orchards and vegetable plots. With LA’s new program, for just a $375 application fee and approval of the homeowner, you can designate your final resting spot on the street of your choice.

In announcing the plan Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa positioned the parkway cemetery program as a transportation solution, “Why subject your relatives to lengthy commutes to visit your grave when we can have distributed ‘drive-through’ cemeteries?” Adding, “We’ve got all that lawn out there so why not use it?”

A special thanks to Doug Harvey for tipping us off to this story.

Novella Carpenter Update

We posted yesterday about author and urban farmer Novella Carpenter running afoul of the law in Oakland for “agricultural activities”. She has a clarification on her blog and some new, alarming information. She makes clear that she was busted for selling vegetables not growing them. The disturbing news is information she received that the people who reported her may have been animal rights activists upset that she eats her rabbits. Read more on her blog Ghost Town Farm.

Novella Carpenter Harassed by City of Oakland

Urban farmer and author Novella Carpenter is getting harassed by city of Oakland employees. From her blog Ghost Town Farm:

Here’s the deal: After getting off the plane from Salt Lake City and making my way home to a cup of tea, I sit down at my kitchen table and I see this guy in a City of Oakland car taking photos of my garden. I go down and he said I’m out of compliance for “agricultural activities”. I’m supposed to get a Conditional Use Permit for growing chard. The annual fee: $2500.

My two cents. Get involved in local politics to change outdated planning codes. We did it in LA with the Food and Flowers Freedom Act. In the meantime let’s lend Novella our support and best wishes.