Parsnippety website for plants, animals has local roots

  • Article by: BILL WARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 4, 2014 - 3:17 PM

It’s kind of like the Onion. Not only is it built around whip-smart humor, but it’s actually about onions.

And squashes. And sunflowers. And birds. And elephants.

Since its launch in late January, The Parsnippety has included news reports on wheat filing a gluten discrimination lawsuit against people and bees announcing a pollination work stoppage until their living conditions improve.

The posts, written under several pseudonyms (including Clarissa Bullmother, Phillip Chaff), are the work of Minneapolitans Anne Hodgson and Jon Klaverkamp. And there’s more than just rye — er, wry — humor behind the endeavor from this environmentally conscious couple.

“There is so much written about nature, climate, agriculture, the ethical treatment of animals,” Klaverkamp said. “The topics are so serious, and rightfully so, but the tone of the writing becomes so earnest. So we thought, why not address these issues with humor?”

Besides twice-a-week reports, the site has three monthly features: an animated video and columns from Frank Eagle and advice expert Dr. Parsnippety.

The seeds for the site were planted more than a year ago, when Klaverkamp started working part-time at a local farm. “There’s something about being around pigs, cows, chickens and people with degrees in horticulture that just got me thinking about those issues,” he said.

That’s when he and Hodgson decided “to let nature speak and the plants and animals vent their anger about what humans have done to the environment.”

They have vowed to give equal time to flora and fauna. On the site, Klaverkamp said, “Anne is a plant (a woodland sunflower), and I am an animal (a western screech owl). We cannot favor one over the other. It would mean the end of our marriage.” □

 

 

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