The Food Forward Airstream Road Trip is over.
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 Greg and I and the rest of the team refocus our efforts on getting the pilot on-air and funding the entire series.
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. Because of the logistical challenges of planning and executing a cross-country road trip, the project consumed too much of our collective energy, not to mention our finances. The road trip was meant to play a supporting role to Food Forward 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 and conduct interviews with my family in tow. I felt a bit like Chevy Chase in the movie Vacation, 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 of the truck 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. It saddened me to tell my 6-year-old son Everett that our trip was over.
“But I want to see New York and all the tall buildings,” he said. “I want to see the world.”
I take solace in the fact that our trip helped spark in him a love for travel and adventure. Plus, he and Ava got a first-hand look at where their food comes from, an education that most adults never get.
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 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 Organic Valley dairy farmers Ward and Rosie Burroughs, coming soon.
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, 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, Organic Valley, Annie’s, ISA and Animal Welfare Approved who believe in us and the mission of Food Forward. 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!
Meanwhile, I’m going to continue to write about about some of the great people I met on the road. Look for that here in the weeks to come.