Posts Tagged ‘chick-fil-a’
What do leafy green vegetables have to do with gay marriage? That’s what people are asking when they hear that Bambu Batu is sending $5 to a pro-marriage-equality organization every time they sell a bamboo t-shirt emblazoned with the parody slogan “KALE: It’s what’s for dinner.”
The connection can be traced back to the Baptist-owned fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Last fall, Chick-fil-A went after independent shirt maker Bo Muller-Moore and charged him with copyright infringement for selling hand-printed t-shirts that say “Eat More Kale.” The junk food juggernaut claims that this slogan is a direct violation of its own motto, “Eat mor chikin” (scrawled by cows). Muller-Moore refused to comply with their order to cease and desist, and a legal drama has ensued.
As an avid kale enthusiast himself, Bambu Batu owner Fred Hornaday was disappointed to learn of Muller-Moore’s harassment by corporate bullies. But when it recently came to light that Chick-fil-A had also been donating millions of dollars to organizations fighting same-sex marriage, Hornaday, a self-described human rights enthusiast, had no choice but to cry “fowl!”
Bambu Batu, an all-bamboo store based in San Luis Obispo, CA, specializes in ethically produced goods and natural fiber clothing and holds social responsibility as a top priority in its business model. The family-owned eco-boutique already has a series of original shirt designs addressing issues from clean energy to spiritual awakening, and this month Bambu Batu is releasing its own pro-kale message, hand-printed locally on 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton.
Moved by Chick-fil-A’s saga of unapologetic tastelessness, Hornaday has decided that with this product it’s not enough to simply send a mindful message on a natural fiber t-shirt. So with every shirt sold, Bambu Batu is sending five dollars to the pro-marriage equality organization of the customer’s choice, or to MEUSA if no preference is expressed.
There are certain actions that as a decent human being, you would never consider doing. You wouldn’t hit a someone with glasses, steal candy from a baby, or sue a guy who promotes kale on a t-shirt. Bo Muller-Moore, a Vermont artist and supporter of local agriculture, has for more than 10 years created shirts that encourage the world at large to “Eat More Kale”.
Somehow, the people at Chick-fil-A, a company that the New York Times points out is a business large enough to sell over 530 sandwiches a minute, got wind of the shirts and decided to send a cease-and-desist letter to Muller-Moore. They assert that his t-shirt tagline infringes on their ads that feature the motto “Eat mor chickn”, words written by cows looking to direct attention away from beef and sell more nuggets. The fast food giant stated that the kudos for kale “is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A’s intellectual property.” Yet, Chick-fil-A has no stores in Vermont, Muller-Moore’s shirts predate the chicken campaign, and only someone who has difficulty differentiating a vegetable from an animal would have trouble with telling the two businesses apart.
Luckily, Muller-Moore has a lot of grassroots support. Labeled by admirer as a “Vermont institution”, his legal support has been provided for free, a petition on Change.org set up for him by a local soup company, and he is being assisted with publicity by a former aide to governor Jim Douglas. Peter Shumlin, the current governor, has also offered to appear with him at a news conference in order to back his cause. In a state where community, artisanal food, and local businesses are taken very seriously, “Eat More Kale” has become a rallying cry to those who value quality, the environment, and the social implications of what people consume.
Currently, Muller-Moore is are planning to trademark his merchandise. True to his green and proclivities, each shirt is printed on a Comfort Colors garment, dyed in Vermont by an environmentally-minded shop using a process that takes 2/3 less water than conventional methods and recycles liquid runoff. The shirts are then hand-screened, one at a time, in a garage over Muller-Moore’s home that his wife helped him to build. All of his stencils are cut individually, and the water-soluble ink is heat set for a flexible, durable design. For stickers or clothing, visit the EMK site to wear your love for the earth, craft, and the people who work to make community happen where they live.