Saturday Tweets: Ascension K-Mart Choppers

Root Simple Podcast on Spotify

You can now listen to the Root Simple Podcast on Spotify. Meaning, I guess, that you can hear us babble in between your carefully curated yacht rock and Jacques Derrida inspired hantological playlists.

A new episode of the Root Simple Podcast featuring herbalist EagleSong Gardener will be “dropping,” as the kids say, next week.

Thank you to John Zapf (a guest on episode 54) for suggesting listing the podcast on Spotify. No doubt, I will receive a call from John accusing me of cooking up this blog post as an excuse to note the existence of Jacques Derrida hauntological playlists. Guilty.

Baker Creek Invites and Un-invites Cliven Bundy to Speak

A deleted Facebook announcement for Bundy’s appearance.

This week the sedate world of edible gardening saw an unusual burst of controversy not related to either double digging or the use of Miracle Grow. Baker Creek Seeds found themselves at the center of a social medial firestorm after inviting Cliven Bundy to speak at their Spring Planting Festival on May 5th and 6th at their headquarters in Mansfield, Missouri. Bundy is the patriarch of a family at the center of a grazing dispute that led to an armed occupation and standoff with federal law enforcement at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2014. Bundy’s talk was to be about a crookneck variety of watermelon that he grows.

Reaction on social media to the announcement was swift and pointed to Bundy’s politics as well as racist statements in which Bundy suggested that African-Americans would be better off as slaves. A hashtag got started: #BoycottBakerCreek.

After initially defending the invitation, Baker Creek decided to cancel the talk. In a statement on Facebook Baker Creek said, “Although we had seen a few news clippings over the years, we were naively unaware of the controversies surrounding him.” Their equivocal apology concludes with, “We do believe in rights of free speech and letting people be heard, even if we disagree with their ideals. But at this time, due to security and other issues raised by many of you, all parties think it would be better to research the situation, read the information that has been sent to us by customers.[sic]”

Given that an interview of Bundy, posted on Baker Creek’s blog and posted to YouTube, took place at the Nevada Southern Detention Center and noted a “nationally publicized dispute,” it’s hard to believe that they would be unaware of the events that led to his detention (he was released in late 2017 after the judge declared a mistrial in his case). Promoting him as a “living legend of the Old West” and a “lands rights activist” implies a less than neutral endorsement of Bundy’s beliefs and tactics, in my opinion. One is also left to wonder if their apology suggests that they would have gone through with the talk if they had the budget to keep threatened protestors at a distance.

It’s not the first time I’ve witnessed some haphazard curatorial decisions on a Baker Creek event roster. Speakers at their Santa Rosa Heirloom festival, in past years, included many well known experts in gardening and farming but also pseudoscientists such as “Food Babe” Vani Deva Hari and Joseph Mercola. This week’s Bundy kerfuffle leaves me scratching my head about Baker Creek’s ideological commitments and discernment.

For an in-depth dive into the story of the Bundy Family listen to the six part Oregon Public Broadcasting podcast Bundyville.

Clean Your Home Without Toxic Chemicals

Kelly and I will be leading a green cleaning for your home class at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral on May 19th, after the 11 o’clock service (roughly 12:15 p.m. give or take a few minutes). All are welcome and the class will be held in the historic Lady Chapel, a room entirely covered in gold mosaic tile. Come for the tile alone which we promise not to make you clean!  We’ll talk about non-toxic cleaning products that really work and bust some Internet myths along the way. More than just a white vinegar soliloquy we’re throwing in some church coffee for free. St. John’s is located at 514 W. Adams Blvd in Los Angeles near the corner of Adams and Figueroa.