Posts Tagged ‘Josh Garrett

John Mackey at The Pitchfork

» August 10th, 2013

Readers might easily miss it, but below is a copy of Mackey’s response to an older post about the heroic hiker Josh Garrett, who just set a new record for hiking the Pacific Trail–doing so as a vegan (and with Mackey’s support). More on Josh’s accomplishment next week.

For now, here’s is Mackey’s comment, one that I hope readers will respond to in a spirit of constructive dialogue.  Readers know that I’m a qualified but very eager supporter of the Whole Foods experience as well as admirer of John Mackey. I know not all share my opinion, but we can all agree that civility is the prerequisite to insight.

From John Mackey:

Josh finished the trail and beat the previous record by a full 5 days–59 days and 8 hours.  This is an amazing accomplishment and I’m very proud of him.  It was an honor to provide the financial and logistical support for him to accomplish this.

For the record–I stopped eating even pastured eggs from my own pasture raised chickens about 6 years ago, so I’ve been strictly vegan for 6 years now (vegan plus a few pastured eggs from my own chickens for 10 years).

Sorry to hear that some of you don’t like Whole Foods Market (or me) very much.  However, I challenge you to come up with another food retailer who has done anything close to what Whole Foods has done to educate people regarding the benefits of a plant based diet or who has done a fraction of what we have accomplished in lessening the suffering of billions of livestock animals.

Oh, yes, I’m also on the Board of the Humane Society of the United States so I guess I’m guilty of more crimes against animals in my strong support for this organization both with my time and my money.  I’ve been astounded over the past 4 years of being on this board with how much good this one organization actually does in the world for animals.

It is easy to to judge and attack others for being less “pure” than oneself.  It is far more difficult to actually make a real difference in the world and to really change things for the better.  Best wishes in following your own heart’s path.  I will continue to follow my own.

Josh Garrett’s 2,655-Mile Vegan Journey

» June 10th, 2013

Imagine hiking 42 miles in a single day. Imagine doing it over the toughest terrain, be it vast stretches of merciless desert, cragged mountainsides, or raging rivers. Throw in a 30-pound pack and a few rattlesnakes to dodge. Now, if you can get your head around such a challenge, imagine doing this for 63 days in a row, over 2,655 miles, from Mexico to Canada. Ridiculous, you would think. Impossible. 

Not if you’re Josh Garrett, a 30-year old track coach and exercise physiology teacher at Santa Monica College. Garrett will not only leave sometime this week to hike the famed Pacific Crest Trail, but he will do so as a relatively new vegan aiming to break a relatively new record: the 64 days, 11 hours, and 19 minutes it took Scott Williamson to hike the trail in 2011.

Garrett is no novice. He has hiked the trail before, in 2009, and recalls the journey as “one of the greatest experiences of my life.” It took him 88 days. Between then and now, however, two experiences have braided into one to make his current record-breaking quest an inspiring reality.

First, he went vegan. This change was instigated in 2011 by getting to know a couple of turkeys rescued by a friend. After coming to know (and adore) these animals, he watched a Mercy for Animals undercover video of a slaughterhouse employee using live turkeys hanging from a conveyer belt as punching bags. “I was sickened,” Garrett explained, “and my own consciousness started to change.”  The fact that a plant-based diet had the added benefit of providing Garrett unprecedented reserves of energy was equally critical to his decision to reconquer the PCT.

Second, last year Garrett met a friend who also happened to be an avid hiker and vegan. This person recognized Garrett’s considerable talent and encouraged him to go after Williamson’s record, offering to sponsor Garrett by providing not only moral support, but food, water, and hiking gear. That friend was John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO. Mackey said, “Josh is not only a very nice person, but is also the strongest hiker I have ever had the privilege to hike with.”

Mercy for Animals, the organization integral to Garrett’s vegan awakening, is backing the venture as well. Through its website it will give updates on Garrett’s progress, a map of the trail, and opportunities for supporters to donate financially. Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals, said,  “We hope that Josh’s selfless journey inspires others to take steps in their own lives to help prevent the horrible suffering of animals on factory farms by adopting a healthy and humane vegan diet.” Garrett is eager to raise awareness of MFA’s mission.

For all his verve and optimism, though, Garrett recalls having “mixed feelings” when Mackey first floated the possibility of breaking the PCT record. “I loved the idea of the challenge,” he said, “but didn’t want to let anybody down if I didn’t make it.”

I think Garrett can rest assured on this one. The fact that he can even conceive of accomplishing a physical and mental feat that is beyond most of our imaginations elevates Garrett into yet another model of vegan compassion and inspiration for future vegans to follow. Plus, his motivation is, as Runkle noted, so “selfless” that, in a way, it’s beyond failure. “The more I learn about animals used in the food industry,” Garrett said, “the more I want to help.” He added, “I walk because they can’t.”

I for one plan to cheer him on the whole way. And beyond.