Michael Franti is an American poet, musician, and composer. He is the creator and lead vocalist of Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. He is also an outspoken supporter for a wide spectrum of peace and social justice issues. And he is today's guest blogger!
Back in the late 80's, I hopped in a van with my band mates. Sleeping on floors across America, eating at truck stops, or on some lucky nights, enjoying a plate of tour spaghetti made with love and generosity by the people who loaned us their couches for the night. Eating healthy on the road took a bit of creativity back then. Often the most nutritious meal at a truck stop (filled with processed nacho cheese dip, soda pop and candy) was a can of sardines and some saltine crackers (which I would trade off with the occasional peanut butter and crackers). A truck stop salad was a wedge of iceberg lettuce smothered in thick Thousand Island dressing with a tomato slice and an olive thrown on top. Sometimes the only way to make my own "salad” was to order a burger with all the fixings and just eat the fixings!
As the years passed, I started to notice more and more mom and pop food co-ops opening across the country. I could not only find nutritious (and yummy) locally grown foods, but also the coolest feature in any food co-op....the bulletin board! The bulletin board in any organic store is the pulse of the community. You can find Yoga, massage, concert listings, bookstores, used van parts (crucial for a touring band), community political information and even lost cats. Despite the immediacy of the Internet, I still go straight to the organic food store bulletin board to find out really what's happening in any town I find myself in.
Thankfully, organic, locally grown and nutritious food is becoming more accessible everyday across America and in every country I travel to in the world. That's good news for people and for the planet. As someone who spends many months a year on the road, it made me think hard about ways that we could make our tours be less harmful to the planet. We started using bio diesel fuel for our tour buses, stainless steel water bottles for ourselves and our crew, and ceramic plates (or biodegradables) backstage. We also purchase carbon offsetting for our flights and ask that all venues we play provide recycling bins in the house and in the backstage areas. This movement is spreading across the music community and thanks to the encouragement of concertgoers many of the venues we play at are working year round to lessen their carbon footprint as well.
I feel that it's imperative that we all work together. Farmers, retailers, consumers, businesses and families need to support and encourage each other to do what we can to keep the wheels turning in the right direction. So thanks for all you do to support locally grown, delicious and nutritious FOOD and MUSIC!
A healthy planet is a happy planet!
Be peace, Michael Franti
Check out Michael’s latest album, All Rebel Rockers
in our stores right now!