The pledge drive bike tour to help raise money for the kitchen of fellow intentional community Baltimore Free Farm (BFF) has been in progress for over a week now. Pledges for the trip are at a dollar a mile, so we’re on our way to meeting our fundraising goal of $5,000. Baltimore Free Farm has been running Food Not Bombs and Food Rescue Day out of their kitchen for years now, footing the bills for picking up food, paying the electrical bills, supplying propane for cooking, and maintaining the infrastructural space. Food Not Bombs and Food Rescue Day divert food from the waste stream, further the decommodification of food, and redistribute food to people who experience food insecurity.
As a new community run mostly by volunteers, shouldering this finacial burden has begun to seem less feasible. In a stroke of fundraising creativity, the bike tour pledge drive was formuled as something participants can do that is in line with values of renewable and human powered systems, while providing nearly free (minus bike parts) and ecologically conscious transportation, allowing us to explore forms of radical street performance along the way and once we get to New Orleans.
So far, our journey has found us waylaid on the stoops of abandoned homesteads and historical buildings waiting out the rain, occupying endlessly replicated convenience store landscape, in the warm embrace of hotdog laden churches, on the grass and concrete of park pavilions, under the sky in hay fields, and on the floors of the friends’ houses. It took us a very long time to get out of Virginia. Southwest Virginia, in all its foggy mountain brilliant leaved trees, drug on forever, with spectacular elevation changes, whipping wind, rain, lugging entirely too much more stuff, and reluctant muscles all slowing us down. Finally after a few more days of rain and bike repair delays, we arrived in Knoxville, TN. Our next stop is Nashville, where we’re excited to open for Poncili Creacions with a short puppet act. After Nashville, we’ll be headed to Memphis, then the long (but mercifully flat!) trek south following the Mississippi.
We all started off with a book bag each of personal belongings, but by now we’ve shed most of our belongings along the way in efforts at lightening up our loads for greater riding efficiency. Billy and I have ditched our bags completely, with the clothes we’re not wearing able to fit into our balled hands, and Brittany’s bag is mostly empty, minus a collection of puppets and other interesting found objects that we encorporate into our puppeteering endeavors on street corners along the way. At regular intervals throughout our trip, we’ve dumped the contents of our bags and mercilessly culled any duplicates or other unnecessary objects. Things we don’t have that might surprise you: sleeping bags, ground pads, pillows, tents, (much) spare clothing or shoes, or trailers. Brittany and myself don’t even have saddle bags. My few remaining belongins dwell in a mini grocery shopping bag. When our shoes get wet and don’t dry out, we throw them in a laundry mat drier. When it rains, we pull off and wait it out. When it’s cold, we look for straw, leaves, or cardboard.
If you’re excited about what we’re doing and want to help BFF with their kitchen operating expenses, make a pledge! For more regular updates and pictures, check our fundraiser event on Facebook. Wish us luck!