'Can't Beet This': Better Farm's 2011 Redwood Field Days Float

It all started simply enough back in the 1960s or early 1970s, when the crew from Better Farm crashed the Fourth of July Parade in Ridgewood, N.J., "Better" banners a-blazin' off the back of 10-wheeler. We picked things up from there in 2009, when Staciemae and I marched in the Redwood Field Days parade and tossed wildflowers to the crowd. "You ladies are lovely, but we don't know who you are!" cried the announcers when we passed that evening.   That all changed last year when a bunch of us piled into the back of Butch's pickup truck, cranked a CCR album, and tossed bags of string beans to people, scoring third place in the parade. We knew we had to turn up the heat this year if we wanted to contend with the other parade floats; and in our planning we brainstormed everything from reviving the old bus on Better Farm's property to riding through town on bicycles dragging a sailboat. Plans got moved around a bit when I had to head to New Jersey for the weekend, but luckily Eric Drasin stepped up as leader with a killer crew (thank you Angelina, Soon Kai, and Tyler!). Here's what they came up with:

The precarious "doors as floor" setup on our sailboat trailer.

Vegetable theme

The crew (Soon Kai as photographer)
Floats lining up in town

No word yet on who this year's parade winners are; stay tuned for results!

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.