THANK YOU to all our supporters, sponsors and amazing people we met along the way on the National Toxin Free Tour!
Our largest sponsors Dr.Bronner's, Weedtechnics, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Neal's Yard Remedies for the materials, Iconography Studios for the RV Decal, plus support from all of you for the gas!! You helped us reach thousands and pass our tens of thousands of flyers, raising awareness all across our country! What a trip! Thank you!
We started out in Orange County CA, driving the Moms Mobile, with 3 boys, 20,000 flyers, 2 duck eggs, 1 dog and 1 goldfish on July 18th. We spent about 150 hours of driving on the road and covered over 7,500 miles, stopping in 40 locations to either drop off flyers, meet with supporters and/ or do a talk.
Our first stop was Zion Canyon, Utah and it was breathtakingly beautiful! I left a stake of flyers near Zion and was happy to see many organic choices in the market.
Zion Park was all natural beauty and earthiness. A babbling brook was a welcome reprise after a hot bike ride.
Unfortunately on our second day on our National Toxin Free tour, in Ephraim, Utah we were sprayed with a weedkiller from a helicopter that was trying to eliminate "an invasive weed species" as per the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. We were working on an organic farm and a helicopter flew over head spraying. The roof was unfinished and chemicals fell directly on my family. My son immediately got a nose bleed, had them for 8 days and we all felt unwell for weeks. As harrowing, horrible, and harmful as that experience was, we were reminded as to the importance of our tour. These chemicals are being sprayed all across the country. Hundreds of millions of pounds, every year. This must stop.
We are grateful to have the opportunity to raise awareness about these practices across the country.
Breakfast with Tami Canal Monroe near Salt Lake City, UT
We were thrilled to met with the mom who inspired millions to join in the March Against Monsanto in Utah. Sitting down for breakfast with a fellow food activist is such a welcome relief. Everything was organic and delicious. She shared with us how her daughter's health got dramatically better when she went organic. This was a common story all across the country.
The Grand Tetons, WY
Before this trip my sons were pretty down-and-out about America, even declaring they wanted to leave the country if a certain person was elected President. But when we saw majestic mountains, massive monuments, rolling plains and winding rivers galore, I think they began to see how beautiful our country is and how much it is worth staying for. When they met generous and dedicated people, strangers who opened up our homes and welcomed us into their kitchens, they realized how great the people here are too. The people make our country great, right now, and we have faith in humanity that justice, freedom and empowerment will prevail with the will of the American people....if not on the Hill, definitely in the homes of the people we met.
At this trading post in Wyoming, there was sign outside that said "For Sale due to Health Issues." I was so sad for them, because obviously they enjoyed their business. I ran and got a stack of flyers for them and they were so grateful. Cancer. Affecting 1 out of 2 males and 1 out of 3 females in America today. And the EPA allows a probable carcinogen on our food! This is why we are doing what we do. We can do better.
The thermal pools of Yellowstone and vast national forest enchanted us into meditative silence.
Wyoming and South Dakota had farmlands, plains, forests and rivers wrapping like ribbons around the roads.
Yellowstone was heaven on earth. We thank the artists and conservation activists that fought for our national parks decades ago, and for our wise president Roosevelt who made them protected for in perpetuity.
The Black Hills of South Dakota, Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore were great tourist spots were we could leave a stack of flyers. We all eat and most of us know someone who is sick. You never know how a stranger will be helped by leaving flyers out.
We met with a group of moms in a park in RapidCity SD and had an awesome conversation, passed out flyers, got news coverage, and learned a lot too. One mom said that her Uncle is a Mayor of Hungary and EVERY DAY he gets visited by a Monsanto employee who tries to bribe him with cars, vacations, money, to allow GMOs into Hungary. He says no, but what about other Mayors who might be in a tough spot?
One mom Tarin, was so proud of her Co-OP. They had all organic local food and she drove further to shop there. "it's worth it," she said. "My migraines, acne, aches and pains completely went away when I switched to organic."
In South Dakota we stopped at the 10,000 acre farm of the Trask family, known for seeds and grains. Pat Trask was one of the two farmers who went to the Supreme Court to fight GMO Alfalfa and won. Amazing story. Not so amazing that a few years later Michael Taylor of the FDA overturned that ruling with a simple announcement. This is how corrupt our government is. This also must stop. The great things about the Trask family is that they have such a deep devotion to God that they are utterly convicted that we will, in the long run, win. "God is on our side, " Pat said. " I have no doubt what so ever that we will turn this around because our food is sacred." I got to talk to his gracious wife Rosemary too, and her devotion as a wife, farmer and mother to 12 children was awe inspiring. She was happy to take a stack of flyers to give to her church. They are all blessed to have the Trasks in their community, real "salt of the earth," as Pat says of his kind that live in the heart land of America - "The sifted and sorted folk."
In Iowa were were fortunate to be able to have dinner with farmer educator Howard and Pam Vlieger and tour their farm. Howard raises all non GMO fed livestock and our boys were in heaven to be able to eat meat they could trust. I could see that Howard's farm was a living example of his personal commitment to integrity and what he calls "God's work". Bronson decided that his duck eggs that he was trying to hatch needed a good home. He gave them to Pam and we were quite glad that ducks would not be hatching in our RV.
In Milwaukee, WI we met with our graphic designer Anne and she brought us to Growing Power, started by former basketball player Will Allen, on a 3 acre growing facility with 25 hoop houses and Aqua-phonics. They grow 1 million pounds of food just on those three acres per year! They have grown to 50 acres across the city. Beat that yield, of healthy organic food Monsanto, I bet you you cannot.
Speaking of eating, I found a lovely spot to stand outside on the McDonald's booth at the Milwaukee Summer Fest , the largest in the nation, to pass out GMO info flyers. One woman said her grown son was autistic and she had never heard that organic food could help. Another said that her daughter had been trying to get pregnant for years...she looked broken hearted...and she wondered if going organic could help. The look of hope in her eyes when I shared testimonials of other who have gotten pregnant of only a month or two of organic, whole healthy foods and veggies, was worth the whole trip.
Milwaukee Summer Music Festival outreach.
Food on the road.
On the road, we almost never ate at a restaurant, and that was challenging, because Americans make some tasty food! We brought our own food and cooked delicious meals on the road. Lunch was primarily sandwiches so we could eat and drive. But dinner was a cooked meal that was all organic. We were so grateful for all the supporters who welcomed into their home or community locations. We knew their food would be all organic, and honestly I could have just cried, I was so relieved and grateful. Eating has been so challenging for so many years, and so many of our acquaintances in SoCal still don't eat all organic, so the immediate bond with fellow organic eaters was divine.
We had a great talk in Wheeling IL at Purple Sprout Vegan restaurant where we enjoyed Robin's Frozen Fantasy ice cream made of hemp! We met the Chicago Water Reservoir director, the largest reservoir in the US, who was proud to tell me they no longer spray Roundup around the water supply! YEAY!
I also spoke and met with supporters in Columbus OH. Warren of Snowville Creamery loaded us up with grass fed dairy and goodwill. The commissary where they hosted the talk, was an inspiring community kitchen to support local food entrepreneurs. We loved the concept and the company!
Niagara Falls, NY
We drove through the green rolling hills of upstate NY and stopped at Niagara falls. The boys were blown away. We could not help joking that "There is Canada, where we might move!" Noooo...we won't we will stay and work on having our home here be the best it can be.
After Niagara Falls , we met with Matthew, a supporter and former teacher who lived in Vermont. What a committed person! He helped us find all the telephone numbers for members of the PTA in Washington state when they had a GMO labeling ballot initiative so that we could contact them. A man in Vermont worked with a mom in CA, for the people of Washington state. We did not know each other, but we were all committed to the same thing. That is great. The people of American make America great right now.
We finally made it to Vermont! We had an incredible time at the Montpelier July 4th festival and parade. It was such a joy to thank the people of Vermont for labeling GMOs. I will always remember the sea of thousands of happy faces and the moment of happiness and gratitude we shared. I am sure that there are no strangers in the world, there are just people I have not met yet.
This is one of the main reasons we took this trip. We wanted to make sure someone was in the Montpelier, Vermont parade to thank all the activists who got GMO labeling passed. This picture is bitter sweet now though, because their law has been preempted. But I will never forget the gratitude and joy we all felt for each other. It is not over yet either, lawsuits and appeals are happening.
We met with Andrea from Rural Vermont and she told us all about the movement. The close communities, grassroots activism is what got the labeling passed. They had over 50 hearing about GMO labeling, so it was a thoroughly researched issue and the people won the right for GMO labeling through a fair democratic process.
After the festivities, we went to Basin Farm, a gorgeous 40 acre organic farm run by a spiritual community called the harness that energy. On the farm, which we found through WWOOF.org, we worked hard and played hard, with a giant siesta in between when it was scorching hot outside. Our sons delighted us by working 2-3 hours straight for 2 session a day, with a dip in the river in between to cool off. Nary a complaint. Kids WANT to be useful and be outside! Working on the farm was the highlight of the trip.
We fell in love with green, green, green Vermont. Spacious, friendly and authentic.
Basin Farm is a beautiful organic farm and spiritual community. We harvest, washed and dried kale for smoothies.
Did you know that you can live and eat ( for free) at organic farms in exchange for a few hours of work around the world? Check out WWOOF online.
Harvesting fresh garlic in Vermont. The boys worked hard and deserved the jump in the river afterwards.
The garlic is stacked or hung to dry in a green house or barn. Having fun while clipping garlic bulbs in CT.
At Hunts Brook Farm in CT, my husband literally earned his green thumb. In Vermont, Zarob was a fountain of Knowledge.
The organic farmers I met had an abundance of food, too much often in fact, to harvest before they matured.
They all agreed that genetic modification is something chemical companies have just been good at marketing, and not something that is at all beneficial for farmers or consumers.
Cedar Creek Farm, VT
Cedar Creek is a bustling 50 acre organic farm, where Will Allen and staff have never used a drop of herbicides. His farm stand and cafe were filled with fragrant, delicious smells, produce and local goods like golden maple syrup and jams.
We met with Will Allen, author of "War on Bugs" at Cedar Creek Farms. David Bronner of Dr.Bronner's Magic Soaps. his wife Lisa and activist friend Michael in Vermont and watched while our Senators voted away our rights to have GMO labeling clearly on the package. A challenging day, good thing we had good company.
Hunts Brook Farm, CT
We harvested, washed and hung over 3000 bulbs of garlic in Vermont. In CT, a few weeks later we clipped the tops and roots off probably twice as many dried bulbs.
We learned so much while talking with the farm workers, many who were backpackers, from around the world. The WWOOF program gives people a chance to live and work on a farm, and be fed the farm's food, in any country around the world. The organic farms get volunteer labor, which is sorely needed considering the additional fees for organic certification and maintenance, and the workers get to learn and experience a different culture or way of life.
One worker shared that he went to college in Japan and spent $80,000 on his college education for an Agriculture degree. He said he learned more in a few months on Basin Farm than all 4 years in school. "I wish I had not spent that money, " he said. " I wish I had just come here."
This a a great way to learn about farming, meet dedicated and inspiring people, and make a difference int he world. Learn how to grow organic food. Grow it yourself. Opt out of the GMO toxic chemical farming practice and bring organic back to society by growing food!
Farmer "Digga" from Hunts Brook Farm in CT, pictured to the left, grows food for his CSA and for a local school which teaches autistic and challenged children. I could tell he knows his life makes a difference for others.
It was hard to work in the sun and our hats go off to every farmer on the planet. Farming is truly a noble commitment, one of little thanks and yet deep satisfaction and fulfillment.
Once in Connecticut we got to park the RV and "stay in one place" for a few weeks. We spent time with family, friends and angels for our cause. My brother and sister in law coordinated a community center mural painting event and we joined them. The theme of the beautiful mural was "Justice is on the side of the Universe." It was a comforting day, rallying with community in the face of violence happening in inner cities, the poisoning of our food crops in rural America and the injustice of the DARK Act Passing on the Hill. It was one of the most difficult days of my life when the DARK Act passed July 29. But July 30 I was with peers and new friends at the Unitarian Universalist Church in NY and their dedication comforted me.
Community mural in Connecticut. Martha, NY, on of the many angels of our trip.
Demonstrating on the streets of Brooklyn NY was exciting and fun! We all had dinner afterwards as a group and as we were eating we heard loud chanting outside. We saw a caucasian and Jewish group marching and protesting for Black Lives Matter. My eyes swelled with tears in gratitude for the dedication of the people of New York.
We left flyers and demonstrated with the boisterous Reverend Billy and Stop Shopping Choir and I was on the radio with Savitri D. Brilliant, fully self expressed people whose creativity inspires me. If they can make up a song about glyphosate and perform it in a park with Hazmat suits on, I can certainly up the courage to talk to my city council about not spraying Roundup!
Since then we have learned that the NY DEP has stopped spraying Roundup around all 5 borough water supplies and streets! YEAY!
At small town Voluntown, CT farmer's market. I am proud that my childhood hometown stopped road side spraying as soon as residents complained of how ugly and brown it made the grass and how many dead birds they saw.
If you have not been to Connecticut, go in the summer or the fall, when the leaves on the trees are either lush and green or golden, red, orange, and purple. We stayed with family for another week, picking blue berries, floating in a pond, fishing for cat fish and sitting around a campfire. We do this work because we love our families. It is important to spend time with them and enjoy them.
The Return Trip!
First Stop, Lancaster , PA. Virginia
Lancaster PA, GMO Free Pennsylvania and friends hosted a talk and gathering. In Virgina, Blair, Alison and family had us for an awesome gluten free, organic lunch and dessert. It is so wonderful to meet our supporters and their families!
In Washington DC we met with Stephanie, Laura and Kevin, with whom we will be collaborating with to expand MAA's reach and support. Laura and Kevin have been tracking the cost of eating organic for 5 years and have great tips! We can't wait to work with them to bring more solutions to the masses!
We sought shelter from the heat in the United States Museum of American History. Loved the exhibit on the food system (the first word we saw was organic!) and the Ag system since the earlier settlers.
Nashville rocks! At the Grand Ole Opry. We bought some country music to educate the kids about music from the heart of our country. Todd amped up his string picking game with a banjo. He drove the ENTIRE way, there and back, hundreds of hours of driving, and he fixed everything that broke along the way, the fridge, solar, generator, ceiling vent, wheel skirt and more. He was a handy man and driver of the highest level and we could not have accomplished what we did without him.
We left a stack of flyers at the "Hands On Nashville,"an Urban Farm spanning two house lots with dozens of orchard trees and diverse crops. It was delightful to see signs which displayed the beneficial health aspects of each crop and how eating healthy is our first best medicine.
Along the banks of the mighty Mississippi in Memphis, TN I was stunned and saddened to see four foot swaths of dried grass. I confirmed with the manager that Roundup had been sprayed there and she got the talking to of her life, in a nice way...because she didn't know, mast don't know, the toxic impact that Roundup and glyphosate based herbicides can have.
We have to share this information with them, in a calm way, and give them as much data as they would like. We were horrified to see that the banks of the small pond and green algae was chocking out the life of the pond. The edges of all our campsite were sprayed, so I made my sons put shoes on, we stayed in side and left as early as we could in the morning.
Little Rock, Arkansas is so lucky to have former school nurse Rhonda, Brandy, Sam, Ryan, Robert, and Russ!
Rhonda from Little Rock, AR organized a gathering at the local Natural Grocers, which has 100% organic produce! We met fascinating people! Ryan from Clean Eatery is bringing thousands of people a week wholesome organic and non GMO meals to their homes!
Natural Grocers is heaven!!! ALL organic produce, 100%, YES! Hundreds of locations, super friendly staff and they already had a table just for GMO info. We want Natural Grocers to be everywhere!
I never fail to be excited about leaving a stack of flyers on GMOs and related toxins, our glyphosate info and alternative solutions at community centers across the country. All it takes is one person to decide to do something about it and that entire city will be a step closer to a healthy community. We had fun giving out info and seeing the sights. In Oklahoma the boys were thrilled to stop at a native American shop and stock up on tomahawks and rubber band guns. After nearly two months on the road, I am not sure that was the wisest idea we ever had, but everyone is still alive and no one lost an eye so well... bring on the rubber bands!
New Mexico Arizona
In Alburquerque NM we met with Jane for Neal's Yard Remedies, one of our biggest sponsors, and Aseare from the Organic Living Room. In Flagstaff, AZ we stayed with Terri of Real Food Mum and met with a pack of dedicated food advocates.
Our last stop, on August 22, two months later, was a celebration dinner hosted by the generous and amazing Chef Saifon and partner of True Seasons Organic Kitchen in Anaheim Hills, CA. She served us a buffet of all organic, local delicious food and some of us got Hot pots too. Her desert of mango, green tea and cookies and cream ice cream/shaved ice are divine!
We were all smiles to finally be home. It was a wonderful trip, and... home is great too. Chef Saifon knew that we would be hungry, and so would several dozen supporters, so she supplied a buffet heaping with organic food. My boys were in heaven.
Delicious organic food, rated the BEST in OC, California! What a honor to be able to thank local supporters for their dedication and have them to True Seasons Organic Kitchen. Thank you Chef Saifon and Team!Make sure to visit them if you are in the area!
Thank you again to all the supporters we met along the way! Each and every one of your stories of healing, of dedication and your struggles too, all made our trip worth it. If we did not include a photo of you, I am so sorry, some may are still hidden from me in my laptop which crashed during the trip. Please know meeting all of you was an honor and we hope to gather up the video and share your stories.
Friends, keep being generous, committed and unstoppable!
Love, Zen Todd, Ben, Bodee and Bronson