Kitchen Garden Living in Society

Garden Crunch Time on a Political Weekend


The forecast looks perfect for a day in the garden. I intend to get started soon after sun up at 5:31 a.m. and work as long as I’m able or until needed work is done.

Tomatoes and cucumber seedlings are reaching the critical stage where either they get planted or composted and I favor the former. Otherwise, what was the point of all the planning and preparations in the greenhouse? If I establish the tomato patch and plant cucumbers and peppers that will be enough of an accomplishment.

My scale is larger than a typical household garden with 38 plum and slicer tomato plants planned, a scaled down cucumber patch, and a patch of 12 hot peppers alongside one row of guajillo and one row of ancho chilies. If I get that all in, anything else would be a bonus. The goal is to finish by 4 p.m. so I can go out to dinner in the county seat with some of my blogger friends.

Sunday, June 9, is the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame induction in Cedar Rapids. The Hall of Fame is one of the biggest party fundraisers of the year and this year’s inductees are Fred and Charlotte Hubbell who have long been active in Democratic politics. They are also among the most significant financial contributors to the party. Fred Hubbell was our gubernatorial candidate in 2018. Other individuals and groups are also recognized at the event. Here’s a link.

19 candidates for president will take five minutes each to address attendees. Most candidates have events scheduled in and around Cedar Rapids this weekend to expand the reach of their trip to Iowa’s second largest city. The events range from sign waving rallies outside the event location to family-friendly gatherings in a park to food and social time with candidates. The event I plan to attend is a climate conversation with Washington Governor Jay Inslee who made the climate crisis the focus of his campaign for president. Organized by State Senator Rob Hogg, a long-time member of the Climate Reality Project, I’m looking forward to hearing how the conversation goes Saturday, June 8 at 6 p.m. at Ellis Park in Cedar Rapids.

I had a brief chat at the county party central committee meeting with one of the Our Revolution of Johnson County organizers about the Bernie Sanders campaign. The campaign saved voter information from Sanders’ 2016 effort, which resulted in half of caucus-goers supporting Sanders. The salient question is whether 2016 Sanders support can be converted to 2020 support. Our local Sanders organizer is in training this week and they haven’t finished the canvass to know the answer. They have significant endorsers and thousands of volunteers to perform the canvass.

“This incredible group of endorsers are some of the most well-known progressive voices that Iowa has to offer,” Misty Rebik, Sanders’ state director, said in a June 6 statement to Iowa Starting Line. “Together with our 25,000-strong volunteer base in the state, these progressive Iowans will help us build on our grassroots movement and win on caucus night.”

I don’t see any of the other campaigns packing up and going home after this statement. However, if what Rebik told the blogger is true, I’m sure everyone will use their five minute speech at the Hall of Fame to add their Sanders endorsement to the list.

As I reported April 26, Newman Abuissa confirmed he is running for Congress in Iowa’s second district at last night’s county central committee meeting. I’ve known Abuissa for years and he’s a good guy. In addition to being an engineer for the Iowa Department of Transportation, he is a member of the Arab American Institute’s National Policy Council. Active in peace and justice issues within the Iowa Democratic Party his focus has been on foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East. It seems unlikely he will gain traction against announced candidate Rita Hart, but his announcement was clearly heartfelt. He’s right. We could do a lot of good with the money being wasted on our perpetual wars.

I can see the light of a new day dawning through the window on the other end of my writing space. Time to get to work in the garden.