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Sidewalk Storybook is a public art project that will help people understand the importance of labeling foods that contain GMOs.
Sonya Tafejian
Petaluma, California
United States
3 Team Members

* ALERT! An activity booklet, which is full of many false statements about the supposed benefits of GMOs, has been produced for distribution to school children in California by the Council For Biotechnology Information (CFBI). This is yet another ploy by the agbiotech industry to mislead the public about GMOs. They are now attempting to manipulate voters by deceiving children. Petaluma schools are going to reject this booklet; and we hope parents across the state will urge their children's school districts to do the same.

Do you think we have a right to know what we are eating? Hundreds scientists have vigorously challenged the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs); and 49 COUNTRIES ALREADY REQUIRE LABELING of foods that contain GMOs. It’s time for GMO labeling to be adopted in the United States. Our goal is to enhance public education campaigns on the need for labeling food that contains GMOs. We have a right to know! 


We will create a FREE CHILDREN'S COLORING BOOK  of the original ** fairytale, “The Tale of Liberty and Justin.” It will be available as a downloadable PDF and a hard-copy book..

We will also create a  DOCUMENTARY VIDEO which will include the production of a 'sidewalk chalk art' storybook about GMOs in our food. The video will depict artists and volunteers creating the 12 chapter “Sidewalk Storybook” in three Northern California cities: Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Healdsburg. The video will also include interviews with passersby who have viewed the art work and text as well as with organic farmers and experts who are opposed to the use of GMOs. This community-building, family-oriented project will help to broaden support throughout the state and the country for labeling foods that contain GMOs.

The 100-foot long "Sidewalk Storybook" will be drawn in color chalk and will present an alternative to the pro-GMOs story being told by certain giant corporations. Artists and volunteers will create beautiful colorful images to accompany the fairytale.

We hope that others will be inspired to duplicate the "Sidewalk Storybook" and to distribut the free children's coloring book and the video in their communities so that support for GMO labeling spreads throughout the country. 


** “The Tale of Liberty and Justin” - By Timothy Nonn

Chapter 1

Monevil, a wicked sorcerer, lived in a mountaintop castle. He was rich, but also greedy. He wanted the gold of the peasants who lived in the valley. So he created a potion called Gemos. It made fruits and vegetables grow very fast. Monevil could grow a cartful of food every day, and become richer by selling them to the peasants. But there was a big problem. Every insect that touched the Gemos food died instantly.

Chapter 2

Monevil realized the villagers wouldn’t buy his food if they knew its deadly secret. So he disguised a troll as a farmer, and sent him to the village to sell the fruits and vegetables made from the Gemos potion. Monevil ordered the troll not to tell anyone where he got the food. After eating Monevil’s food, the children and elderly became ill. The peasants were very frightened because they didn’t know what caused the sickness.

Chapter 3

The terrified villagers were desperate to find a cure for the sickness that had stricken down the children and elderly. They tried every known medicine, but nothing worked. So they appealed to a good sorceress named Chicopamm. She gazed into her crystal ball for a very long time. When the mist in the crystal ball finally cleared, the image of Monevil’s mountaintop castle appeared. Chicopamm knew that the wicked sorcerer was responsible for the sickness.

Chapter 4

Chicopamm asked two fairies to fly to Monevil’s castle to discover the cause of the sickness. In the castle, the fairies heard Monevil and the troll discussing the secret of the Gemos potion. The fairies gasped when they saw a butterfly die after landing on a Gemos-laced apple. The troll heard the sound, and captured one of the fairies. The other fairy flew back to the village and told Chicopamm about the deadly Gemos potion.      

Chapter 5

Chicopamm searched through her potions to find one that would reveal which foods were made with the Gemos potion. She found a jar of No. 37 pixie dust. When she sprinkled it on a bowl of fruit, the word “GEMOS” appeared on a banana. Chicopamm passed out bags of the No. 37 fairy dust to the villagers. They sprinkled it on their fruits and vegetables, and discovered which ones were made with the Gemos potion. 

Chapter 6

Once the villagers knew the secret of the Gemos potion, they chased away the troll who was selling the deadly food. Monevil was furious. He flew on a terrible Chimera to the village. While the Chimera burned the villagers’ crops, Monevil disguised himself as a chicken so he could search the village for the jar of No. 37 pixie dust without being detected. He found it, and flew on the Chimera back to the castle.

Chapter 7

After the pixie dust was stolen, it was impossible for the villagers to know which food was dangerous. The troll, disguised as another farmer, returned to the village to sell the fruits and vegetables made from the Gemos potion. Monevil disguised himself as a beautiful young woman. He handed out free boxes of candy to the children. There were messages on the boxes. They said that Monevil wanted the villagers to be prosperous and happy.

Chapter 8 

The children and elderly in the village became sick again after eating the food made from the Gemos potion. Chicopamm told them that someone had to retrieve the pixie dust from Monevil’s castle. A girl and boy named Liberty and Justin stepped forward. Chicopamm gave Liberty a vial of sleeping potion. She gave Justin a magical sword. After Chicopamm told the children her plan, she summoned a flying horse to carry them to Monevil’s castle.

Chapter 9

Liberty and Justin snuck inside Monevil’s castle. They discovered that the sorcerer had locked the jar of pixie dust in an iron cage with the captured fairy. Liberty poured the sleeping potion into a bottle of wine. After Monevil and the troll drank the wine and fell asleep, Justin cut the lock of the cage with his sword. They escaped with the fairy and the jar, and returned to their village on the flying horse.

Chapter 10

Liberty and Justin were joyfully welcomed back to their village as heroes. Chicopamm placed a protective charm on the jar of pixie dust that made it invisible to everyone but herself, Liberty and Justin. The villagers were given bags of No. 37 pixie dust. They sprinkled it on their fruits and vegetables. The word “GEMOS” appeared on anything that was made with the deadly potion. Soon, all of the children and elderly became healthy again.

Chapter 11

Monevil was enraged that he had been tricked. He still wanted more gold. He and the troll flew on the Chimera to the village. He commanded the Chimera to destroy all of the villagers’ crops. While the frantic villagers desperately tried to put out the flames, Monevil disguised himself and the troll as chickens so they could search for the pixie dust without attracting attention. Since the jar was invisible, they could not find it.

Chapter 12

The flames from the burning fields crept slowly toward the village. As the fire grew larger, the Chimera burned down a huge ancient tree. A phoenix rose out of the ashes of the tree and destroyed the Chimera. Monevil and the troll, still disguised as chickens, fled up the mountainside to the castle. The villagers finally put out the flames. As the sun descended, the people joyously celebrated the victory of saving their beloved village.


Please check out the Label GMOs website below.

We will use the funds from Indiegogo for:

1) Producing, printing and distributing the anti-GMOs CHILDREN'S COLORING BOOK

2) Producing, editing and distributing the "SIDEWALK STORYBOOK" VIDEO

3) RECRUITING and ORGANIZING chalk artists and volunteers

4) Sidewalk chalk event and coloring book MATERIALS and SUPPLIES

5) City permitting FEES and CLEAN-UP

Our Team:

PROJECT DIRECTOR - Tim Nonn has an extensive background as a community organizer. As a leader in the Darfur Movement from 2004 to 2008, he organized a global arts and activism project called “Tents of Hope” in which over 400 cities painted simulated refugee tents, and then delivered them to refugees in Darfur. Tim is also a writer who has published poetry, short stories and essays. He has a doctorate in ethics from Graduate Theological Union. His favorite quote is by Thich Nhat Hahn: “To arrive at the ocean, you must go as a river.” 

ART CONSULTANT - Nancy Chien-Erikson was the featured artist at the San Rafael Street Painting Festival in 2010. Her drawings and painting are featured in numerous private collections. She has a particular interest in Italian Renaissance art and studied art in Italy. She has received a degree in art history from UCLA. When she isn’t painting, Nancy loves riding horses at her ranch in Sonoma County.  http://www.nancyart.com/

PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR - Sonya Tafejian has a long history of community organizing in the areas of environment, housing, labor and human rights. She worked for the CA State Senate for a decade before joining an "energy efficiency" start-up in Petaluma. She co-founded Forty Oaks Co-Housing Community and established an organic textile business. She has a B.A. in political science and is a local (Sonoma Co.) activist. 

ADMIN ASSISTANT - Leah Sudran is a Bay Area native who is a rabbi, ordained in 1997 at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.  She  has been active in the anti-nuclear movement, El Salvador solidarity and sanctuary work, and the animal rights movement. She has worked as a rabbi in congregations, hospitals and prisons.   

VIDEO DIRECTOR - John Bertucci is currently the Executive Director of Petaluma Community Access. PCA provides public access to television production equipment and training to produce and broadcast television shows made by and for the community. He has been making films and media since 1972, working for 15 years in Europe as a video documentary director. Stimulating and empowering the creativity of others is where and how he measures success.



This fall, a large number of public school students will receive a PRO-GMOs ACTIVITY BOOKLET courtesy of ***COUNCIL FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY INFORMATION (CFBI). Below is the opening paragraph of the booklet.

"Welcome to the Biotechnology Basics Activity Book. This is an activity book for young people like you about biotechnology - a really neat topic. Why is it such a neat topic? Because biotechnology is helping to improve the health of the Earth and the people who call it home. In this book, you will take a closer look at biotechnology. You will see that biotechnology is being used to figure out how to:

1) grow more food;
2) help the environment; and
3) grow more nutritious food that improves our health.

As you work through the puzzles in this book, you will learn more about biotechnology and all of the wonderful ways it can help people live better lives in a healthier world. Have fun!"

***CFBI member companies include BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow Agro Sciences, Dupont, Monsanto, and Syngenta. http://www.whybiotech.com/links/index.asp#4

Please click on the link below titled "GMOs Booklet" to see the CFBI kid's activity booklet in its entirety. http://www.whybiotech.com/resources/Kids-Biotech-Basics-Activity-Book.pdf

The Petaluma School Board will not allow the CFBI propaganda to be used in Petaluma City Schools. PLease help us get the word out on this issue so that other districts will follow suit!
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This campaign ended on August 30, 2012
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Artwork Postcard

    A postcard of Sidewalk Storybook art signed by the artist.

    9 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2012
  • $25USD
    Postcard and Bumper Sticker

    A postcard of Sidewalk Storybook art signed by the artist and a Label GMOs bumper sticker.

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  • $50USD
    Print and Bumper Sticker

    A signed 8"X10" artist's print of Sidewalk Storybook art and a label GMOs bumper sticker.

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  • $100USD
    Print, Bumper Sticker and DVD

    A signed 16"X20" artist's print of Sidewalk Storybook art, a Label GMOs bumper sticker and a DVD of the documentary video.

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    Estimated delivery: September 2012
  • $250USD
    Prints, Bumper Sticker and DVD

    Two different signed and framed 16"X20" artist's prints of Sidewalk Storybook art, a Label GMOs bumper sticker and a DVD of the documentary video.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2012
  • $500USD
    Prints, Bumper Sticker and DVD

    Two different signed and framed 16"X20" artist's prints of Sidewalk Storybook art, a Label GMOs bumper sticker and a DVD of the documentary video.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2012
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