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When I first heard that activist and graphic designer Josh Hooten was going to ride his bike 600 miles to raise awareness for animals, I was heartened and impressed. Six hundred miles on a bike is no easy task. That’s roughly the distance from San Francisco to San Diego; I don’t even like driving that far. But Josh is doing it for a great cause: he’s both celebrating 10 years of being vegan and he’s benefiting Farm Sanctuary, which he acknowledges had a major influence on him a decade ago.
“I don’t remember exactly how I found out about Farm Sanctuary, but I was living in Boston back then and involved in the punk scene,” Josh says. “There were ― and are — a lot of animal rights people in that scene, and Farm Sanctuary is a well-known organization on the east coast, as well as other places, obviously. The first I really remember learning the story of Farm Sanctuary was through Eric Weiss, who worked at Satya magazine, and for Eddie Lama, and is an amazing activist. He did a music zine called Rumpshaker, which was amazing — truly one of the best ever. He did an article on the farm and on [co-founders] Gene and Lorri. Hearing the story of Hilda and of their dedication and pioneering work really moved me. It took me awhile after that to finally go vegan, but Farm Sanctuary had a real effect on my decision and therefore on my life.”
After 10 years of vegan living, Josh will be giving back to the organization that inspired him by pedaling from his home in Portland, Oregon (where he and his wife, Michelle Schwegmann, run the ultra-hip Herbivore Clothing Company), down to Farm Sanctuary’s California shelter in Orland. His plan is to leave the first week of May and arrive at Farm Sanctuary in time to emcee their annual Country Hoe Down on May 16 and 17. (Look for the tired guy with the big smile.)
In addition to donations for Farm Sanctuary, Josh is hoping for another form of support. “I’m going to ask non-vegans to go vegan for the days that I’m riding down,” he says. “It’ll be nine or 10 days of pretty serious biking, so I’m asking folks who want to support me to do so by being vegan for those days if they aren’t already.”
Josh is busy training for the long ride, and he’s taking some beautiful photographs along the way. See it all and learn more at http://joshivore.blogspot.com/.