I was one of many folks who toured the country in a veggie-fueled bus several years ago, when biodiesel was becoming more well-known. The concept of a fuel made from a waste product was so exciting that it produced Straight Vegetable Oil caravans that traveled the country, celebrating the new green fuel and the art of living sustainably. Times have changed a bit.

The issue of green living has become much more complex. How sustainable is a fuel if rainforest was cleared to plant its feedstock? How sustainable is an organic orange if it traveled 3,000 miles to get to you? I’m about to go on the road again, this time with a group seeking to address these issues: the Sustainable Living Roadshow. It’s an eco-carnival, a roadworthy green festival, a grown-up veggie caravan. The launch party is today, and it’s partnered with another great local-living organization: Victory Gardens 2008.

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Artist Amy Franceschini established Victory Gardens in 2006 as a reimagining of the similar American movement during the Second World War. Wheras both initiatives encourage citizens to grow their own food, “victory” in the modern movement is defined outside of war– as local food security. In her initial research, Franceschini found a photo of a WWII victory garden planted in the front lawn of San Francisco’s City Hall. Earlier this month, Slow Food Nation and an army of volunteers set out to re-create that image (on a grander, permaculture-inspired scale).

The Sustainable Living Roadshow (SLR) will be setting up a series of Conscious Carnival games amongst the gardens. They’ll include Toss Out Fossil Fuels, a GMO Freakshow, and a miniature Ecopolis. SLR will be touring this series of games nationally, along with a solar-powered concert stage, bio-fueled demonstration vehicles, and workshops and booths from local innovators in sustainability. Stops include Chicago, Knoxville, New Orleans, Austin and Las Vegas, as well as the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

I’ve been both jaded and inspired by the concept of sustainable living. It’s clear that the culture of climate chage is complex– there is no one solution, there is no ultimate green. But the idea is a unifying one – It’s something that’s becoming easier to do and realize. And whether folks are reading Al Gore’s powerpoint, growing their own food, or celebrating the planet at the top of their lungs, it’s clear that everyone’s effort helps a little in moving us toward a sustainable culture.

+ Sustainable Living Roadshow

+ Victory Gardens 2008

All photos courtesy of SLR and Victory Gardens