Fishy Sugar Beet

Fishy Sugar Beet

Fishy Sugar Beet, AKA Rooty, is a sweet ride that cruises the country spreading the word about GMOs and the need to label them. Rooty, along with her 4 counterparts; fishy soy, corn, apple & tomato, were designed by DC artist Cesar Maxit for the group, Are We Eating Fishy Food? She has completed two cross-country tours and spent nearly 4 months in Washington State campaigning for Initiative 522. She started this year off by blockading Monsantos global headquarters in Creve Coeur, MO during the annual share holder meeting in protest to the shareholders voting down a resolution that would essentially stop them from funneling millions of dollars to prevent GMO Labeling Initiatives to pass. After returning to Asheville, NC where she enjoys spending much of her time, she was elected the official float for the “Krewe of Ewwe” in Asheville’s Mardi Gras Parade. On March 29th Rooty made her way down to Atlanta, GA for the 1st Annual Non-GMO Festival at the Lake Claire Community Landtrust where her primary driver, Ben Harper, spoke of the many adventures they shared as well as the benefits to using playful activism as a means to create change. On April 22nd Rooty will make an appearance at the Asheville Community Theatre for the Organic Growers Schools’  screening of GMO OMG, a film directed by Ashevillian Jeremy Seifert. In May, she will head back out on the open road eventually making her way to Oregon to campaign for state-wide GMO Labeling. Feel free to follow the adventures of Fishy Sugar Beet on Facebook and Twitter @fishysugarbeet

-Ben Harper


GMO OMG in Asheville

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 5.01.04 PM

REAL Cooperative is proud to co-sponsor “GMO OMG” showing in Asheville on Earth Day!  Please come on out and join us (and the Fishy Sugar Beet!) for an entertaining and engaging evening of Film and Conversation about Genetically Modified Organisms.

Date: April 22, Earth Day

Time:  Doors open at 6:30, Film starts at 7:15.

Location:  Asheville Community Theatre, 35 E Walnut St, Asheville, NC 28801

Cost: $11 advance purchase price. $13 on the day of
(see below for purchasing options)

Director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert (of Asheville) is in search of answers to complex question of ‘who controls the future of food?’ GMO OMG follows one family’s struggle to live and eat without participating in an unhealthy, unjust, and destructive food system. Followed by Q&A with the Director and panel discussion with local & national experts.

You can purchase tickets in the following ways:

1. By calling Asheville Community Theatre at 828.254.1320.
2. On the Asheville Community Theatre website Here.
3. On the day of the event at the Asheville Community Theatre Box Office (Ticket prices will be $13 on the day of)

Proceeds benefit the spread of organic education in our region.

Facebook Event Page (Please help spread the word)
Film Description (Long Version)
Press Kit for GMO OMG
Press Release for the Asheville Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Interview with Jeremy Seifert


Mapping the Sharing Economy in Asheville

1-Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 5.43.48 PM

Asheville and Buncombe County have a lot to offer its citizenry. On the surface it is easy to see the countless restaurants, boutiques, bike shops and breweries, but much like in most cities there is more to this mountain town of ours. Many of these surface offerings aren’t designed to serve those who actually live here and large portion of our community can’t afford or lacks access to participate. At the same time there is an often invisible and unconnected network of initiatives, resources and services supporting our citizens and building community.

Last year Asheville based organization REAL Cooperative, in partnership with Shareable and about 25 community members, decided to map out this unconnected network with a purpose of supporting existing projects, connecting those who would benefit from them and identifying needs and niches yet to be filled. The first community meeting which launched this project in Asheville was covered by Lea Mclellan from Mountain Xpress (How well does Asheville share?)

After 4 months of accepting community feedback and expanding the scope of the project we would like to welcome you to the SHARE Asheville Community Directory and MAP. This list has been and will continue to be “crowd sourced” from the community and we welcome your feedback and suggestions. The directory (and Map) aims to showcase the Sharing Projects, Collaborative Consumption and Common Resources which Asheville has to offer. Scroll through the over 150 offerings in 7 sections: Food, Services, Reuse, Community Health, Community Wealth, Commons and Public Libraries.  We will soon be developing a list of “Off the Map” resources serving the community without a physical location.

Have a suggestion for something we should add? Or maybe you think there is something which should be removed?? We rely on feedback from the community to make this a useful resource! Please submit all suggestions through this FORM.


This Map is only a launching point for a larger initiative were calling SHARE Asheville to foster the further development of community serving policy and infrastructure to support the, for lack of a better word, sharing economy.


SHARE Asheville will be hosting our first large event later this Spring. Asheville ShareFest will take place on May 31st at the French Broad Food Co-op and will be a series of interactive co-created events which will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday May 30th-June 1st showcasing local organizations, projects, resources and skills while highlighting examples of the sharing economy which nationally has become a (new) social safety net and multi billion dollar industry in the new economic framework. The event will be one of over 25 ShareFests taking place in cities around the world in the months of April, May and June as part of the international campaign coordinated by Shareable, Center for a New American Dream, OuiShare and other organizations. Please let us know if you would like to co-create this event with us by filling out this FORM.




Are We Eating Fishy Food? National Tour (leg 2)

Fishy Food Tour Crew Abita Springs, LA

Fishy Food Tour Crew Abita Springs, LA

On November 7, GMO labeling activists set out on a cross-country 6,083-mile journey from Seattle to New York City for the “Are We Eating Fishy Food? Tri-Coastal Tour.”

The tour features five mutant GMO art cars fitted with 300 pound roof-mounted sculptures that call attention to the need for labeling genetically engineered (GMO) food. The tour, which began two days after the world learned that voters in Washington state did not approve I-522 requiring labels for food that has been genetically engineered, launched the second leg of the Tour on Wednesday, Dec 4th.

Ben Harper, co-founder of the REAL Cooperative, is excited to be behind the wheel once again for his third National Tour in the Fishycorn Car.  He has taken the baton from David Piller, another member of the REAL Cooperative, who participated in the first leg of the tour from Seattle to Huston.

After tour stoops in Louisaiana the past 2 days the tour will continue on to Miami Florida before hooking North towards New York City where the tour will come to a close on Dec 16th.

An updated schedule can be found at

12/3/13 1:00pm – Lafayette, LA
12/4/13 12:00pm – New Orleans, LA
12/4/13 1:00pm – Mobile, LA
12/5/13 9:00pm – Tampa, FL
12/6/13 9:00am – Sarasota, FL
12/6/13 3:00pm – Miami, FL
12/9/13 5:00pm – Jacksonville, FL
12/10/13 1:00pm – Atlanta, GA
12/12/13 1:00pm – Asheville, NC
12/13/13 1:00pm – Richmond, VA
12/13/13 1:00pm – Washington, DC
12/14/13 1:00pm – Baltimore, MD
12/15/13 1:00pm – Philadelphia, PA
12/16/13 10:00am – New York City

NOTE: Times & Dates are approximate & may change

SHARE Asheville: ‘Map Jam’ Part Deux

Map Jam Part Deux_Skinny


On Wednesday November 20th, community members and resiliency organizers in Asheville, NC will join together for Part 2 of the creation of a Map of what our city already has to offer from the Sharing/Collaboration/Commons perspective.  The intention will be to leave the evening with a completed (digital) map that can be accessed by all residents and those passing through who wish to support a local solidarity economy.

We will be adding additions to our list, recording all the necessary information about each location and making the map!

Wanna get involved?
Please bring a laptop or tablet if you can. Don’t worry if you can’t, we’ll have some extras on hand and will be breaking up into groups so not everyone needs to have one.
Please bring something to share for the pot luck and a list of organizations, businesses, resources and events that should go on our new map of Asheville.

P.S. If you can’t make it please include your ideas on the event page.

***Parking is best towards the bottom of Congress St. We only have parking on one side of the street and it is a constant negotiation with our neighbors…

Quick Note: At the first event we did a Brainstorm by sector and created a list of over 100 things to go on the MAP!
We also received some media attention from the Mountain Express: How well does Asheville share?
Finance – credit unions, public banks, microfinance and local investment, ongoing crowdfunding dinners (Sunday Soup), socially responsible investing firms, community currencies, slow money chapters
Production – energy coops, producer coops, community gardens, coworking spaces, urban farms, hacker spaces, maker spaces, art collectives, fab labs, computer kitchens, repair cafes
Land/housing – public parks, open space, community centers, housing coops, community land trusts, intentional communities, cohousing developments
Services – public libraries, carsharing pods, bikesharing stations, worker coops, community or cooperative healthcare, bike kitchens, childcare collectives, preschool coops, timebanks, education coops, free skools, community owned media, infoshops
Distribution – food coops, farmer’s markets, reuse stores, tool and seed libraries, barter markets, free stores, stationary free boxes and food pantries