After two months visiting farms, ranches, restaurants and schools across California the Food Forward road trip is shifting gears. I’m parking the Airstream and letting my family out while my partner Greg Roden and I and the rest of the Food Forward team refocus our efforts on getting the pilot show aired.
We still plan to visit several cities later this year to screen our pilot episode on urban agriculture and interview food rebels for future episodes. Only this time, we’ll be flying to get there.
The truth about the road trip is that we tried to do too much with too few resources. The trip was meant to play a supporting role to the TV show, but it began to eclipse it. We owed it to our supporters, our sponsors and ourselves not to let that happen.
What’s more, day in and day out with my family proved to be very challenging. OK, make that extremely stressful. It’s one thing to take a family vacation, it’s another to try to work on the road, coordinate farm visits, participate in conference calls and schedule interviews with my family in tow. I felt a bit like Chevy Chase in his Vacation movies, trying to soldier on in spite of one mishap after another. Only it wasn’t quite so funny at the time and it didn’t feel like much like a vacation.
For the record, I was the one who grew most weary of the road. It’s a wonder that my family didn’t kick me out and leave me by the side of the road. My wife and kids are remarkable travelers;adaptable, ever-curious and always ready for another adventure.
In many respects, the trip, albeit short, was a great success. We held our most successful screening to date at the Brower Center in Berkeley. We sold it out! I recruited a couple of bloggers for Losangeles.com, and I was able to connect several school districts with the Root 4 Kids, a farm-to-school campaign launched by Annie’s Homegrown, one of our sponsors. And we shot some great video of Organic Valley dairy farmers Ward and Rosie Burroughs. Best of all, I met people and saw things that I’ll carry with me forever, people like Stephen and Gloria Decater, Jared Lawson and Nancy Vail, Mark McAfee, Patty Karlin, Bryan Kaminsky, David Hill, Bill Niman and Nicolette Hahn Niman and places like Covelo, Pescadero, Bolinas, Richvale, Ojai and Denair. Most of all I was struck by the kindness and commitment of all the people I met. Thank you to everyone who fed us, sheltered us, gave us a place to park and welcomed us into their lives. These people and experiences will continue to inform and shape Food Forward.
I especially want to thank our partners, Boulevards New Media, Organic Valley, Annie’s, ISA and Animal Welfare Approved. Together, we still plan to do great things. Greg and I are committed to documenting this movement and the people behind it. I just won’t be doing it in a diesel-swilling truck pulling a 45-year-old trailer. This road trip is over, but Food Forward goes forward!