Uh, for those of you who just tuned in, the Pinedale Shopping Mall has just been bombed with live turkeys. Film at eleven. ~Dr Johnny Fever
I’ve got lists. Do you have them? For me, listing is a love / hate relationship. It’s like all kinds of things that I know I should do; I know I could be a more organized, clear-headed person if I took my listing more seriously. But I find my kind of listing to be more in the ‘of a ship’ category, as in ‘to lean to one side, typically because of a leak or…..unbalanced cargo’, i.e. ‘she was listing fierce’. However, I keep lists of topics that I want to write about (think about), heaps of them. I jot down phrases and sentences that I believe with youthful fidelity will remind me of the flood of ideas that accompanied the words in said sentence. I’ll be on a run, in the vineyard, in a line waiting or something, and naturally inspiration strikes when you cannot do anything serious about it, so these lists are: in my phone notes, voice messages to myself, written in sharpie on my pants (you’ve seen them), on the backs of receipts and napkins. It’s very professional, and glamorous, how I work.
So, I’ve been meaning to share some of the very cool things that have been a part of what I’m calling “Chapter Next,” and some of it seems to be spilling onto the decks before I can right the ship (recall the listing) and therefore, I, that is, we, have some catching up to do.
Just today though I’m going to spill the tea about a very cool thing I’m getting to do thanks to my amazing friends at the No-Till Growers Market Garden Podcast. If you’re either a) very flush on time, or b) paid by my mommy, you may have listened to the episode where I was interviewed by Farmer Jesse. That was such a fun interview and I binge-listen to that podcast when I’m in the field because it is so helpful and practical, and it feels like hanging out with your farm friends when in fact none of us ever hang out because we’re all too busy farming.
Well, at the end of 2021 Farmer Jesse reached out and said that he was needing to have more space in his life to, you know, do his real job and be husband and father and stuff like that, and would I maybe like to be a guest host for a few episodes?
To which I said, Oh, hey man, this is awkward but you totally called Mimi Casteel instead of whomever you meant to call.
But then it was too late and he had to go with it so as not to look like a jerk and be like, yeah, whoops! Sorry, I mean, you were definitely someone we considered…… so he did the merciful thing and figured that there was enough (deserved) loyalty in the listenership to suffer a few harmless episodes with Mimi as host.
And to be honest, I balked. Not because I haven’t had a fantasy about broadcasting my thoughts to an imaginary, and infinite, audience; as a child I bought a pair of tinted aviators and wished for a receding hairline ala the inimitable Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati and would regale my imaginary audience while I rolled through my mixed tapes (which, it must be said, were epic, thoughtful things with seamless transitions and thematic vision). But here’s someone handing me a REAL microphone and I’m chicken.
Because, see, I know people have way better things to do with their time than listen to my (unbearable? Impossibly low and high at the same time? How is it possibly this bad?) voice. And yet….
The idea of being able to reach out to people I admire, whose work I follow and respect, under the umbrella of a very reputable medium and squeeze them for all of their knowledge was just too great a temptation to pass up. A month later I was unpacking some really cool gear (like this super boss giant microphone) and making lists of who I wanted to interview.
And now, dear friends who have taken this journey with me and are still reading (Hi Mom!) you can now add to your penance for whatever terrible crimes you committed this new pastime, which will no doubt accelerate you on your path to absolution! The first podcast came out a few weeks ago, wherein I interviewed this kick-ass almond farmer named Benina Montes from Burroughs Family Farms in California.
The second interview also just came out and is with Andy Cato, who, in addition to being a hero of no-till, regenerative small grains and founder of Wildfarmed in the UK, he is also co-founder of the band Groove Armada, which, if you don’t know, is a super-rad band that is, ahem, doing a 25 year anniversary tour in the UK only!! If you live there and don’t go to one of their shows I’ve lost all respect for you.
But wait, there’s more! And while I don’t want to spoil the surprises, there will be wine people, yes, of several European persuasions, famous authors, the living incarnation of Radagast the Brown, and even a psychedelic Jedi Master. You like that Oxford Comma? You belong here.
Look, I’m not going to tell you what to do but really, they do most of the talking and I’m just there to queue up some titillating questions and marvel at their answers and charming accents (we’ve got British, French, Spanish, all so very, very charming).
Almost done, but may I just say a few words (did you cough at ‘a few’ just now? What, are you counting?) about the other hosts and the overflowing troves of great information, practical advice, inspiring stories and so much more from the folks at No-Till Growers? The other two guest hosts this season are Alex Ball of Old City Acres and Natalie Lounsbury, both of whom do amazing work and you should absolutely follow / check them out.
Over time the homemade No-Till Growers Podcast team’s bootstrapping tenacity paid off, and has diversified to include the Composter Podcast, the Seed Growers Podcast, the Winter Growers Podcast, the Collab Farming Podcast, and the No-Till Flowers Podcast. They also do live sessions, host a really great forum (I’m looking at you, farmers, go get your questions answered and find your people!), make tons of useful YouTube videos, and write very thoughtful blog posts, like this one here.
The team and hosts of the other podcasts are all fueled by a desire to learn as much about what they do as possible, and is there any fossil form of energy that could compete with that? Nay, I say, nay. And the bosses behind the scenes who did not even raise eyebrows when I somehow managed to delete not just my own recordings, but all the recordings, even before they realized there is some magic, mimi-proof reset button on Dropbox; who helped me figure out how to slay my Johnny Fever microphone, who make it all sound like I know how to do this? Well, it’s like if Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko designed a podcasting team. Obviously, this is a tribe of dirty overachievers and you will love them unless you have a genetic condition that precludes you from feeling inspiration, curiosity, hope and / or you have no heart. All I can figure is they had to balance the forces of almost too good with something…..mimi.
So you should probably stop reading this and go hit some episodes. If you think you can handle it, grab some earbuds and hop on.