Posted by: Paul Jenkins | May 3, 2008

the poopsicle project

Next to Edmonton's city hall

In the summer of 2004, I pushed a small outhouse on three wheelbarrow wheels, with an inside to hold a cooler, through eight Canadian cities selling poopsicles – frozen, fair trade, organic bananas coated with dark chocolate – for three dollars each.

I used the poopsicle project to say to as many people as possible, “excuse me, I’d like to be heard.”

National Post

It worked. I made front page in a regional version of a national newspaper, was pitied in a Montreal editorial, and told to grow up and get a real job by a writer of an Edmonton daily. I was on TV – the news in Edmonton and Calgary, and MuchMusic’s Speaker’s Corner.

My key message was simple, consume crap.

Nobody understood what I meant, though. I forget to say what’s in it for you.

The poopsicle project had so little stickiness in our collective conscious, I’d be surprised to find anything except for this blog entry on Google about the topic. Believe me, I’ve checked.

poopsicle factory (Sister's house in Toronto)

What I had wanted to say is your consumption of media, materials and meat controls the fate of this planet we’re all flying on. Tough shit, my friends, you have to monitor your consumption:

1. Learn the bias of mainstream media, whatever it is – the responsibility of opinion is that inevitably, it’s all propaganda. So, be aware of those who hold your attention.
2. Learn who sews the underwear ridding up your bum. As earnest as it sounds, you have a responsibility to those making the pieces of our material world.
3. Learn where the food’s coming from on its way to your belly. This includes: food miles, farm practices and family partnerships.

Royal Bank building, Winnipeg, Canada

I made fifty poopsicles each time I pushed my prone to tipping poopmobile through the streets. I sold out my first day in Ottawa – the only time on tour – during gay pride.

First poopsicle ever

I drove to Montreal and slept in my van in an area popular with crack addicts, adjacent to where I once lived. I was police-escorted off Mont Royal the next day to chants of poopsicle! poopsicle!’

Mont Royal, Montreal, Canada

I wheeled around Toronto’s city hall, the Queen’s park and street, but no one was there – except for my family.

Queen's Park, Toronto, Canada

I went to my hometown, St. Thomas, and was interviewed by the National Post.

National Post shoot, St. Thomas, Canada

The poopsicle project made appearances at Portage and Main in Winnipeg, Whyte Avenue in Edmonton and the Red Mile in Calgary. I finished in Vancouver with high expectations, but made little connection with the city.

Louis Riel monument, Winnipeg, Canada

I then stopped, packed the poopmobile in the back of my minivan, my home for the summer, drove across the Rockies with failing breaks to Edmonton, and put it in the corner of my apartment for two years. Its current home is a suburban garage.

poopsicle project is done

Of course, I had grand designs for a poopsicle world tour, but the project simply didn’t have the legs to go viral.

I’ve often wondered, why? What prevented people from whispering poopsicle to each other? Why didn’t they bother to spread the implications of my message and its call to action?

The answer is three-fold:
• I had a lousy web presence,
• Not enough money,
• And, never fully explained the idea until now.

The Poopsicle does America, 2008? One million dollars and I’m in.

poopmobile in Edmonton apartment.

You can support the poopsicle project in three ways:

  • Become a Poopsicle Pal
  • Tell your friends about the poopsicle project (talk, call, e-mail, Facebook status update, link)
  • Monitor your consumption.
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Responses

  1. Photo Descriptions:

    1. Edmonton – on the sidewalk next to City Hall.

    2. Canada (outside Ontario) – front page of National Post

    3. Toronto – poopsicle production factory (aka – my sister’s house)

    4. Winnipeg – in front of Royal Bank of Canada building.

    5. Ottawa – first poopsicle sold.

    6. Montreal – my police escort off Mont Royal.

    7. Toronto – in front of City Hall.

    8. St. Thomas – family in background, National Post photographer asking for more animated poopsicle eating.

    9. Winnipeg – next to statue of half crazy/half genius, Canadian revolutionary, Louis Riel.

    10. Vancouver – in Stanley Park parking lot with love of life, Sandra.

    11. Edmonton – in apartment at corner of Jasper and 117 Street.

    * The header photo of my blog was taken in Ottawa. You’ll notice me sneaking behind the watchful eye of the RCMP.

  2. Paul,

    What an amazing journey the poopsicle has endured! I think it’s projects like this that truly inspire people to think about what they’re doing, consuming and participating in. To alert people that we’re a part of a larger picture, and that change is possible!

    What a great idea, Paul. I’m surprised you didn’t get more coverage or more visitors in Toronto, but in a way, I’m not.

    I think you should have a poopsicle revival, poopsicle party? poopsicle re-visitation… something…

    Take care…and I will be a P.Pal 😉
    Staffeen

  3. paul, you are an inspiration to us all!

  4. way to “raise awareness”…

    all you’re doing is petting your own ego…mmm sanctimony. way to masturbate.

  5. At the time, the only city in Canada where I could find fair trade bananas was Vancouver. I have yet to find any in Toronto.
    Kyle, I’m not entirely sure which part of my project or writing you found to be hypocritical. I am certainly proud of what I accomplished, but the tone and content of what I did and said was hardly rightious.
    Curiously, how did you come across my blog? Most of my readers are friends.

  6. I think someone with money should invest in this idea! The project was successful on a small scale, but imagine how cool it would be if it had the proper funding and PR. I think the project was ahead of it’s times, and Paul is a brilliant visionary.

    This aside, I think the piece was a very contemporary and poignant, piece of mobile installation art.

    Any investors out there with half a million to throw at the idea?

    PS. The Poopsicle came before the Frozen Banana Stand on Arrested Development. I think it needs a patent.

  7. Come to San Francisco!!!!!

  8. Congratulations, Muppditt! San Francisco has been officially accepted as a poopsicle project stop if an American tour ever takes place.
    I appreciate your enthusiasm. Feel free to become a poopsicle pal on Facebook.


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