A FEW WEEKS BACK WE WERE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE VISITED BY FERMENTATION ON WHEELS AS PART OF THE L.A. STOP ON THEIR MOBILE TOUR OF THE U.S.A. WITH THEIR FERMENTATION READY SCHOOL BUS. WE ASKED THEM SOME Qs FOR THE NEW BLOG.

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SSP: YOU’RE ON A MOBILE TOUR WITH YOUR PROJECT… AND MENTIONED EDUCATION AS A FOCUS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE PROJECT AND WHAT NECESSITATES A PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH?

FOW: Fermentation on Wheels is a mobile project that aims to support small farmers nationwide, encourage people to eat thoughtfully, and teach people about food sustainability & the benefits of live food. When I’m not teaching or demonstrating fermentation, I reach out to people with art & literature – little pieces that feature recipes, drawings, stories, and food information. My passion for teaching is motivated by my desire for change in the food and education systems. I’m an activist & artist, and I use education as my tool to raise awareness and strive for this change. I teach on my bus as well as track down like-minded farms, communities, and venues to help host workshops and other events.

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SSP: WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE FANCY BUS?

FOW: The bus is a 40 foot 1986 International Harvester. It was purchased from the Michigan school system by the Michigan Police Force and then later professionally converted into a mobile home. The couple that converted it drove to Oregon as a destination to call home, where upon arrival they decided the Oregon winters weren’t for them and sold the bus to a woman named Esther Bain. Esther had the bus for 7 plus years, lived on farms in Oregon, and made soap. I was shopping for buses and saw Esther’s listing. It was a kind of love-at-first-sight. She had sold the bus previously under a payment plan that wasn’t fulfilled and had it repossessed. After the fact, she was getting offers to sell it for scrap metal – offers even higher than what she was selling it for. She was determined to sell it to someone who would give the bus the love it deserves. She met me, loved the project, and the rest is history.

I named the bus Barb, after my late grandmother who had a passion for travel, education, and social work. Additionally, little to her knowledge, she was a major player in financing the beginnings of this project.

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SSP: WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU ALL ON YOUR TOUR?

FOW: We’re working really hard to reach our full potential audience. Right now we are designing a more comprehensive website with a schedule, sustainable food resources, stories from our travels, and drawings & photography. Additionally, we’re working on a more professional online donation process, so our supporters can give tax deductible donations. Also: information on how you can volunteer, this will range from joining a leg of the trip, contributing literature & art, communications & outreach, and much more. Fermentation on Wheels also plans to print zines in the near future, so people have literature to go home with after meeting us – something that will inspire and stick with them.

We are about to begin our excursion through the Southwest after two months on the west coast, which is home to us. We’re excited for change and newness. We’ll be spending time at a small goat dairy farm in Phoenix, AZ next week. I’m a novice to dairy ferments, so I’m super excited to work with my favorite of the dairies – goat dairy. Get ready for yogurt workshops!

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