Kris, David, Olivia, and I have been talking about running from coast to American coast for well over a year now. And believe us, Kris and I have known more than anyone that talking about running the country and doing it are two very different things. Prior to our run launch, every time we mentioned our cross-country run, the look of disbelief we saw in people’s faces reflected the disbelief we felt in our own hearts.
The thought is just too big, too long, too uncertain, too expensive, and too crazy.
But here we are in Tucumcari, New Mexico. To be exact, it’s about 2:00 am and I’m reclining in bed in our travel trailer. Kris has finally come to bed after shopping on-line for needed items to be sent to post offices in Texas and Oklahoma. I’m wide awake, feeling the wind gusts rock our trailer around like a toy. David, Olivia, and Angel are asleep and will likely sleep through the night without stirring.
Tucumcari is significant for us. It marks one third of our run. Google says the distance from Huntington Beach, California, to Tucumcari is 1021 miles. Our Garmin watch says the distance is 1053.61 miles, give or take a hundredth of a mile.
We ran into Tucumcari on March 26th with the help of an epic tail wind, the same tail wind that’s now rocking our trailer. Tail wind or not, we’re two days behind schedule. David is anxious to finish our cross-country run ASAP so he can get back to training for the cross-country season with his running friends in our home of Sitka, Alaska. Yes, I know that sounds a bit strange, but if you’re a runner, it makes sense.
Because we’re a bit behind, we won’t be running through Amarillo, Texas. Instead we’re running directly to Wichita, Kansas, then on to Mansfield, Missouri. We recently learned that Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company is sponsoring their 14th Annual Spring Planting Festival on May 4th and 5th, and from what we’ve read on Baker Creek’s website, WE NEED TO BE THERE! May 4th is a few days ahead of our scheduled run to Baker Creek, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.
One thousand miles over the past two months is a lot of miles, but we’ve still got some two thousand miles to go. And two thousand miles sounds almost as crazy as three thousand miles. So many things could happen between Tucumcari and Atlantic City, New Jersey. There’s no guarantee we’re going to make it.
But as Kris said in the Indiegogo campaign video, “We’re doing it.” One mile at a time, one day at a time, one massive meal at a time, one blister at a time (for David, at least, I haven’t seen a blister yet), and one wind storm at a time.
We’ve talked to hundreds of people over the miles and we’ve yet to talk to a real person who goes to the grocery store specifically to buy GMOs. Those who know what GMOs are unanimously agree they don’t want to eat poison-saturated GMOs, neither do they want to feed them to their children.
We find ourselves in such a bizarre situation today: GMO farmers are now growing GMO crops that consumers neither need nor want–crops that provide no benefit to consumers, animals, or the environment, but provide a host of harmful consequences to human, social, political, animal, and environmental health.
Sometimes I feel a bit crazy, caring so much about an issue that most people have never heard of. But then I realize for the thousandth time that the situation is crazy, not me. GMOs aren’t safe. Round Up is toxic. Neonicotinoids are toxic. Atrazine is toxic. They are poisons. Farmers use these poisons because they kill living creatures. The chemical companies repeatedly tell us that their pet poisons somehow magically kill only “bad insects,” and don’t harm pollinators, cattle, pigs, people, soil or water.
If I poisoned my neighbor, I’d rightfully go to jail, but if I’m a poison-spraying farmer, I’m just part of a system where poisoning is not only condoned, it’s actually seen by some as the only way “to feed the world.” And the “science” that backs such practices is the science that’s been hijacked by the chemical giants. Dr. Joseph Mercola says it this way:
Chemical technology companies like Monsanto are â€śbuyingâ€ť increasingly more friends by funding colleges and universities, where they can gain control over research, science, policy and public opinion. Last year, Monsanto gave a $250,000 grant to the University of Illinois, creating an endowed chair for its Agricultural Communications Program, securing help in disseminating its pro-GMO message. This means that a good deal of science is now corrupt even before the study is performed, with only one goal in mind: the advancement of an agenda. Gone are the days where scientific studies coming from institutes of higher learning really meant something!
My grandpa used to say, “Strange how there are more horses asses in this world than there are horses.” He wasn’t referring specifically to today’s purveyors of poisons, but as a farmer, he definitely would have included them in the ass category.
Enough is enough. It’s long past time to reclaim agriculture from agribusiness. It’s long past time to return to local, organic gardening and farming, performed by our neighbor gardeners and farmers. It’s long past time to stop subsidizing the least healthy crops, subsidies that make junk food cheap and healthy fruits and vegetables expensive. It’s long past time to stop the monarch-butterfly-killing monocultures and return to farms rich with biodiversity.
In a few short hours, the sun will rise. David and I will consume another massive bowl of organic granola, bananas, nuts, seeds, berries, flax seed and almond, soy, or coconut milk. Then, tail wind or not, we’ll continue running and we’ll continue telling everyone we meet about the dangers associated with genetically modified organisms. And while we’re running, Kris and Olivia will take care of all the logistics and details that keep us running down the road.
Our family is honored to be part of this food revolution, and we are honored to enjoy your support and encouragement.
We’ll see you on the road!
Brett and his 15-year old son, David, are currently running from coast to America coast promoting a GMO-Free USA. Brett and David blog at RunningTheCountry.com. Support their run and mission at RunningTheCountry.com/donate.