We’re biking across America to capture stories of the
Local Food Movement – 
through Potlucks.
 

Robert DuBois

Washington, DC

Where are you from?

Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I delivered CSA boxes for a summer before moving to DC to work at a nonprofit focusing on international development.

Why are you riding across the country to hear stories about local food?

For a long time I thought the food I was eating was making me sick, and in the process of trying to figure out why, I discovered how our industrialized food system works and over time realized that good food is the greatest healer of all.

Aaron Zueck

Brooklyn, NY

Where are you from?

Rock Springs, Wyoming. But I've been loving the vibrance of the city for a while now.

Why are you riding across the country to hear stories about local food?

My Friends and I make family dinner every Tuesday night – usually about 10-15 of us. I appreciate the community, love the food, and am happy to know where it’s coming from. I wanted to see what other people were doing across the country, take the opportunity to learn from them, and spread the word to others.

FAQ

Are those your bikes?
Yep.

Where’d you come from!
Hardwick, Vermont

Why Hardwick, Vermont?
Ben Hewitt, author of The Town that Food Saved, calls it the Epicenter of the Local Food Movement. Aaron and I were both living on the east coast, Brooklyn and DC, respectively, and felt that Hardwick was without a doubt the place to start.

Where are you going?
Portland, Oregon. We were planning San Francisco, but our schedule’s become a bit tight. There’s still a strong chance that I’ll ride to SF at the end of the trip.

So, are you riding for a cause?
We’re potlucking across America to capture stories of the Local Food Movement.

What’s the name of your project?
It’s Bikeloc, pronounced “bikeluck” – that is, one part bike, one part local, and one part potluck.

Oh?
The idea is to bring people together to talk about food, over food, in their communities. We hope that folks will make some new connections, share some new ideas, and either start or continue to take action around food – whether it’s organizing another potluck, planting a few tomatoes, working to legalize chickens in their city, or creating a local food distribution system. The list goes on!

At the potlucks Aaron and I are able to talk with a number of individuals, finding and video recording a few stories that stand out and subsequently posting them on our blog. We hope these videos will paint a picture of what’s happening on the grassroots level of the Local Food movement, and inspire folks to start something in their home or community.

Whoa!
Yaaa!

Are you students?
Nope. Personal project.

So you’re from Vermont?
We are not. Vermont is a great state, but I’m originally from Colorado and Aaron grew up in Wyoming.

How did you guys meet?
We met in 2003 during college in Northern Colorado. Go Bears!

When did you leave?
April 24th. And we plan to finish in Portland around August 14th. A little over 100 days, much flora and fauna to take in, many new friends.

How many miles do you average per day?
We shoot for 70. Our average has been under that, but it’s certainly not a result of lazy leg work! We whipped ourselves into shape through the “hills” of New York, and have had some short distances to bike, mostly a result of potluck alley (Central Illinois to Minneapolis, MN) – it’s like we’ve got a potluck every few miles. Go mid-west, go.

update: yesterday we completed our longest ride yet, 120 miles.

Where do you stay? Do you camp a lot?
Oh, we camp at state parks and in kind folks’ yards. If we’re lucky, a couch surfer, warm shower-er, or person we meet in town will offer up a couch, bed, or floor. Waking up on a farm is a really great experience.

Do you get tired or sore?
We expect constant soreness after a ride, but I suppose folks who regularly hit the gym or do laborious work know how it feels.

What do you eat?
A lot! Dried fruit, fresh fruits and veggies, peanut butter, hummus, cheese, bread, and too much GORP (Good ’ol raisins and peanuts).

When shopping, we go for the most local options we can find. When we camp we prefer dehydrated soups and beans commonly found at food co-ops, and when we are house guests our hosts often prepare meals for us (fine hospitality!). We’ve learned some great recipes from the people we’ve stayed and potlucked with.

Do you get tired of one another?
Never.

High point/low point?
High: learning first-hand about our agricultural system; experiencing the warmth of American hospitality; enjoying discussion of food, over food, with folks across the country; spending all day outside; understanding what the real northern American landscape looks like, watching it change from VT to WI, and looking forward to the rest of its changes as we head west.

Low: riding under the threat of lightning.

What do you do besides bike and eat? (via Amanda)
While on the road? Mostly bike and eat. We also spend a lot of time refining the website, processing the stories we’ve recorded, and planning for the future. Robert is getting into birding, makes some music if his friends are willing to join in, participates in a bike co-op. Aaron is looking forward to learning more about wood working and urban homesteading. And of course, we both like to use a kitchen if we’ve got one.

What kind of bikes are you riding? (via Rachel)
Robert’s got a brown Surly Cross-Check, and Aaron’s got a green Surly Long-Haul Trucker – seriously sweet steel bikes!

What’s the situation with your camera equipment and supplies? Are you guys packing that or do you have someone driving with you? Also, what camera equipment are you using? (via david)

We’re packing everything – cameras, laptops, tents, and a book or two. Each of us carries somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 pounds.

As for the camera, we’re using a Canon 7D with an older manual-focus Nikkor 35mm lens. We have a simple Sennheiser Microphone, and a Monfrotto 785B Tripod.

We use Final Cut Express to edit the videos, and Mpeg streamclip to convert the videos to a more manageable size for editing.

We learned all of this from Philip Bloom – he’s got a great deal of info on his website about using the Canon DSLRs for video. Also try searching “canon 7d” or “canon 5d” on Vimeo or YouTube to see what others are doing with a similar setup.

Have a question? Email us at hello [at] bikeloc [dot] org, or post it in the comments section here.