Episode 102—The Tumbleweed Tree—featuring John Wackman & Elizabeth Knight, co-authors of Repair Revolution: How Fixers Are Transforming Our Throwaway Culture

The crucial element of this revolution comes in the form of "repair cafés," essentially gatherings of generous fixers and tinkers with a variety of expert skills at fixing our stuff.
As John and Elizabeth explain, people line up at these repair cafés with their band-aided and broken items.
Whether it's a shirt that needs mending, a blender that won't blend, a record player that won't play, or a lamp that won't light, it seems there is no end to the knowledge and willingness of fixers to teach people how to bring their cracked and crooked items back to life.

Not only do people get their items repaired, but they learn firsthand how to make these fixes themselves.
It really is revolutionary, yet so simple, this idea that someone can be taught how to make a simple repair, seek out the parts, and extend the life of their utilized and treasured belongings.

Beyond the transfer of know-how, John, Elizabeth, and all the fixers and tinkers get to hear the stories attached to so many of the precious items that come through the doors of the repair cafés.



Every year, millions of people throw away countless items because they don’t know how to fix them. Some products are manufactured in a way that makes it hard, if not impossible, for people to repair them themselves. This throwaway lifestyle depletes Earth’s resources and adds to overflowing landfills. Now there’s a better way. Repair Revolution chronicles the rise of Repair Cafes, Fixit Clinics, and other volunteer-run organizations devoted to helping consumers repair their beloved but broken items for free. Repair Revolution explores the philosophy and wisdom of repairing, as well as the Right to Repair movement. It provides inspiration and instructions for starting, staffing, and sustaining your own repair events. 




“For me, tea was the original comfort food. No matter where in the world my military family found ourselves, one of my mother's first acts, in her new kitchen, was to take a battered tea kettle, travel mugs and tea out of our "open-me-first box" and brew the cup that cheers ..."

That early experience instilled a love of tea that Elizabeth Knight has spent her life cultivating. Widely recognized as one of the country’s foremost authorities on tea and entertaining, Knight shares her passion as the founder of Tea with Friends, a website devoted to all things tea.


A certified English Tea Master, Knight studied with Edward Bramah, Executive Director Bramah Tea & Coffee Museum and completed the Whittard Tea Course and Examination, London, England. She is a member of the American Association of University Women, the Culinary Historians of New York, Slow Food International, The Specialty Tea Institute, and The Wayne County Beekeepers.

Elizabeth is the author of bestselling books on the subjects of tea and entertaining including “Tea with Friends,” “Celtic Teas with Friends,” “ Welcome Home, “ and “Tea in the City New York - a tea lover's guide to sipping and shopping in the city. “ She is a frequent guest on national television and radio programs including CBS’ Sunday Morning, WNBC’s Today in New York , WOR’s Food Talk, The Travel Channel, The Home Shopping Network, and QVC.


Knight traveled to China, Cornwall, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Peru, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Taiwan, Tibet, and Wales to research and write numerous articles about tea and travel for Tea Time, Romantic Homes, TEA A MAGAZINE, and various other publications.


As tea sommelier for the historic St. Regis Hotel in New York City and spokesperson for the 40th anniversary of Royal Doulton’s china pattern, Old Country Roses, Elizabeth has created and presented programs in the U.S. and U.K. She regularly speaks to audiences at trade shows, national retailers including Bloomingdale’s and Marshall Fields, cultural institutions including The British National Trust, historical and botanical societies including The Missouri Botanical Garden, and schools including New York University, among others.

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-Brother Oran Parker

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