We woke up early and drove the last two hours to Washington DC. We drove all over the city (lost, but great for visibility) and met up with Mintwood Media Collective, owners of the Cornfish.
We had a group of bicyclists made up of the Mintwood collective, local activists and friends escorted us all the way through DC to the White House. We followed our growing troop of bikes all the way there, were briefly confronted by secret security for blocking an intersection with a suspicous-looking fish car, but left about four minuets later, unscathed to continue driving around. We stopped by the capital building and the national archives, getting strange looks, thumbs-up and cheers all along the way.
That couple hour tour completed our journey just before the rain began on capital hill and Ben and I got to explore DC a little bit before regrouping with the others. I’m not going to lie, in DC I felt like we had less support for our cause than we had even in the backwoods of West Virginia or in Oklahoma. Busy people in nice black business suites didn’t have time to laugh or ponder the giant bewildered corn fish. Our friend Adam, informed us that DC is a food desert, lacking the local pride and knowledge about the source and quality about the ingredients. Lets hope that policy will lean toward labeling, transparency and health more than the community.
Overall this journey has been extremely rewarding and eye-opening. Now that I find myself back in North Carolina, I can’t find organic food. Yesterday in the store, the only cereal I found that was seemingly GMO free was Rice Crispies, owned by Kellogg, a company that spent lots of money to make sure that my hard work on Prop 37 didn’t pay off.
I began my activism career as a climate activist, dealing with the very present crisis of climate change, and in my eyes, the most important issue that one could take on: How do we get to continue to live on our planet?
Over and over again I’ve made a point to remind myself and others that I’m not a single issue activist; that the GMO issue is not my fight. The last 6 months of focused work has changed my perspective. Listening to Vandana Shiva speak about the importance of protecting our world’s native seed supply form privatization at any cost necessary, and coming home to an ecologically bland agricultural state with no healthy food available to buy because a government that is supposed to represent me chooses to subsidize dangerous untested food and dirty energy sources, makes me think perhaps this is my fight.
In fewer words, this is ONE BIG ISSUE of conflicting interests and you, I and the planet we live on have been left out of the equation. If I’ve learned nothing else about life and activism it is that if you want to see something happen, you have to take lead in making it happen. We’re all busy, we all had other ideas about what our lives would look like. I’m 22 years old. I’m not sure what hope I have about living in a country that protects my values or the quality of my soil. If I had children I don’t know what the planet they inherit will look like. This fight is not too big. If anything, the battle for GMO transparency is winnable and soon, if we do it ourselves instead of waiting for someone to lobby our officials, talk to our neighbors, write of new food policy and protect our food supply for us.
Apathy could kill this planet decades before war or climate change. Save seeds, plant food, teach your children how to cook, and to see beyond plastic packaging, buy locally, talk to your neighbors, call your congress people- pressure the president. FIght to label GMOs, kick monsanto out of the country, stop the Monsanto Riders on the new 2012 Farm Bill and the 2013 Fiscal Budget.
I read yesterday in the National Archives that Alexander Hamiliton, said that this country is governed by the people- So lets get to it! Govern your country, use the hell out of the system in place, and if still doesn’t serve you, build a new one. If nothing else, we have the right to be healthy, to feed ourselves, to live on our planet. We just drove goofy fish-corn car across the country and we got people talking, but we didn’t change the world yet. We need your help. Look for updates about how we can help you build and drive and educational art car around your region. If you’re interested email firstname.lastname@example.org. Lets keep this going!