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Letters: "A Pledge to America," the DIY spirit and urban farming

Marketplace Staff Sep 28, 2010

Letters: "A Pledge to America," the DIY spirit and urban farming

Marketplace Staff Sep 28, 2010


Man, singing: I’m gonna sit right down, and write myself a letter.

Kai Ryssdal: The music means just one thing. That it’s your turn. A lot has been said since Congressional Republicans released their Pledge to America last week. , and your responses were favorable and less so.

David Rigby of Winston-Salem, N.C., didn’t much care for how we framed our story.

David Rigby: An interesting title to your story, “Will a pledge change anything?” Of course not. Only action changes things. We are overdue for a fiscally responsible action.

Many of you took action when you heard Gustavo Arrellano’s commentary a couple of weeks ago about how we’ve all become a little bit Mexican in the recession, as we embrace frugality and do-it-yourself solutions, like raising chickens and growing our own vegetables. Some of you hated it. Others loved it.

Amanda Cundiff from Vallejo, Calif., was on the fence. Funny, she said, but not quite true — or at least the part about chickens being cheap.

Amanda Cundiff: Keeping hens can be expensive. To do it correctly, you need a safe, secure sanitary coop. I’ve heard friends say that after building a really nice coop, buying organic feed and then raising chicks to point of lay, their first egg is worth $500. And on top of that, my hens aren’t even laying at all right now. They are on strike while they molt.

We do it all here, eggs to vegetables. I interviewed Tracey Carson from Mason, Ohio, last week about the school district’s decision to put baby carrots in vending machines at the high school.

Nick Patten from Hudson, N.Y., is no fan of carrots — or any food, really — that comes from a machine.

Nick Patten: I will agree that it beats Fritos, but are we so far gone that we have no other way to provide snacks for kids in school than vending machines? I know you can do the math but at the age of 57, I am happy to tell that I survived grade school and high school with no vending machines at either one. Imagine that!

One more food story before we move on. There’s a chef out here in L.A. who’s started up a restaurant that relies on home-grown produce from its neighbors. People thought the idea and the story were both pretty cool.

But this remark by the restaurateur about potential vendors…

Jason Kim: Some old lady with a bag of lemons coming in and being like, “Give me money for these lemons!”

…rankled Nancy McCarthy from Roslindale, Mass.:

Nancy McCarthy: Some old lady? Why is it OK to speak condescendingly about a person based on gender and age? Let’s hope the hip, urban farmers were young and male.

Fair enough. Finally, a correction about something else that comes out of the ground. Bob Moon interviewed Scott Tong last week about the booming Chinese trade in rare-earth metals. Not only are they rare, but they’re hard to pronounce so of course we messed it up.

Scott Tong: Disproposium.

Scientists among you — and who knew there were so many — wrote to point out that we spelled it wrong on our website, too. So here you go. It’s properly pronounced “Dysprosium.”

If you’d like to correct us, or just tell us how much you like us, drop us a line at our website.

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