Posted by Aaron Zueck | Aug 20, 2010
After 4,521 miles and 18 pretty rad community potlucks, we’ve finally crossed the finish line. We rode through a swarm of bees, teetered on a foot-wide dirt rim of a washed out road 30 feet above the river and rubble below, threatened farm dogs with pepper spray and our own vicious barks, climbed 10,000 foot mountain passes, and pushed with might through 50-mph headwinds. Most importantly, we have had the chance to become a part – however small – of the 18 communities we shared meals with across the country.
Posted by Aaron Zueck | Jul 28, 2010
We recently applauded a new CSA farm set up in Schoharie Valley, New York that provides for residents in the South Bronx – a community that is in dire need of healthy and affordable food. You can read about it here if you missed it. The Community Supported Agriculture model is a really powerful way to get good food to communities that need it. But it isn’t the only way.
The Farmers’ Market
When most people think of local food, they think of the farmers’ market. We’ve been asked quite a bit on our trip if we are going to visit the local market – and sometimes we do. But we never considered farmers’ markets to be a major part of our trip.
Posted by Robert DuBois | Jul 20, 2010
Recall all of those daily votes you cast at the inception of Bikeloc, helping us win a Refresh grant to partially fund our project?
A film crew from GOOD Magazine followed us to our picturesque potluck hosted by Marty and Kris Travis at Spence Farm near Fairbury, Illinois; we had about 50 attendees from surrounding rural and urban areas.
It’s unclear whether the Shaker Reproduction furniture, rustic buildings, happy chickens, or abundance of food has caused it, but Spence Farm always has a little magic in the air. All who visit leave having learned something about the food we eat, and feel hopeful and inspired about the future of our food system.
And do you recall Annabeth? This is where we captured her story.
Posted by Robert DuBois | Jul 09, 2010
Heard of Glyphosate? Perhaps not.
Most home-owners know it as a simple spray that kills weeds in the yard, most farmers know it as an herbicide that kills weeds, allowing their crops to grow strong. It’s also known as Roundup, and it’s used on about 90 percent of soybean crops, and 70 percent of corn and cotton crops.
Over the last few years, Round Up’s efficacy has started to slip; for some, the herbicide is no longer working. So, what’s a farmer to do? One solution is to roll back to weed-killers that preceded glyphosate – in our current system, a debatably reasonable remedy – but let’s bring to the fore a crucial point that has lurked in the shadows of the Roundup conversation: the potential health and environmental implications of using these chemicals.
We caught up with Nick Swetye of the Green Triangle, a permaculture-based organization in Cleveland, about his view of Round Up, herbicide-resistant weeds, and the potential health and environmental implications of rolling back to older chemicals as a Roundup replacement.
Please share your reactions.
Posted by Robert DuBois | Jun 23, 2010
When we visited Schoharie valley in upstate New York, we learned about a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that connects farmers in that area with residents of the South Bronx, 150 miles away. The program recently delivered its first produce – with biweekly subscriptions and an income-based pricing model, rather than the typical season-long and fixed-price model – to the area.
When Richard Ball, who is one of the farmers working with the project, first told us about it back in May, the idea and the action really inspired us – the CSA is a powerful model for getting fresh, local, seasonal produce to the table, and this program gives those who most need it the access they deserve.
This is a prime example of extending locally-produced food beyond the farmer’s market, expanding its reach to those who have limited access to food or live in a food desert.
Posted by Robert DuBois | Jun 21, 2010
Hello, new friend! I know you’ll have a few questions about what we’re doing on this zig-zagged jaunt across the Lower 48, so to save us some time and cut to the real conversation, I’d like to answer some questions you may ask. This FAQ of sorts will be archived on the About Us page.
Are those your bikes?
Where’d you come from!
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.
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.
Posted by Robert DuBois | Jun 17, 2010
You’ve likely heard of Will Allen. He’s making major moves with his nonprofit organization, Growing Power in Milwaukee, WI. “What started as a simple partnership to change the landscape of the north side of Milwaukee has blossomed into a national and global commitment to sustainable food systems.” (from GrowingPower.org)
After a long day of beekeeping and urban riding, we were lucky enough to meet up with Will on our way out of town. (It should be noted that he wanted to do the video in one of his greenhouses, but wasn’t able to due to an injured knee.)
Posted by Robert DuBois | Jun 13, 2010
Inspired, sitting in a café designed by Frank Lloyd Wright 60 miles north of Madison, WI, we each decided to write a haiku about our trip today – hands down the most beautiful day of our trip yet.
Post your response in the comments section – the rule? Haiku only (5-7-5 syllable pattern).
– Aaron –
Green fields all around
playing in water like kids
life is well-lived here
– Robert –
cuts undulating furrows
unknown to glaciers
Posted by Aaron Zueck | Jun 08, 2010
Cruising through big, big fields of corn and soy, using the sparsely-traveled country roads of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois to ride side-by-side and talk to one another, our discussions often turn to wonder and awe at the massive monocultures we are witnessing. The system that supports those monocultures is one that has come under increased scrutiny as of late. For its health, environmental, and social impacts, academics and good-food advocates are calling it an unsustainable model. But tell that to a conventional farmer and you are critiquing much more than just our food system. You are critiquing his career, and his entire way of life. Or at least that’s what I thought before we met Kenny.
Posted by Robert DuBois | Jun 05, 2010
The first surprise was the small stream running through the beds of dirt and edible plants; the second, a flock of chickens roving, pecking for worms, greens, and seed; the third, that we were standing in the middle of an asphalt parking lot.
While rolling through Cleveland we were invited to stay with Meagan Kresge, who helps coordinate Gather ’Round Farm, a permaculture-based farm built upon a vacant lot on the west side of Cleveland. The farm was started four years ago with a truckload of wood chips – serving as a base layer of earth – and now thrives as an urban agricultural, food-producing, educational space. Friends and neighbors of the garden can volunteer, attend workshops, and a lucky few will get one of a few CSA shares being produced this year.
To legally own the beautifully diverse group of chickens living on the farm, Meagan and other coordinators spent months working with the city of Cleveland to change the local laws – a coop can legally exist if it is set back somewhere in the range of 10 feet from other residencies and businesses. And now that the chickens are legal, Meagan sells the eggs to her neighbors on the honor system: she places the eggs on her front porch, and the buyer slips cash through a slot in the door.
Posted by Robert DuBois | Jun 01, 2010
Annabeth Roeschley came to our potluck on Spence Farm, and we had the opportunity to stay with her on their family hybrid seed farm in Central Illinois. She currently works at the Washington Youth Garden in Washington, DC.
Posted by Robert DuBois | May 26, 2010
It’s typical to find us after a hard day of riding in a new town, pretty damn hungry and without a space to sleep.
Being out on the road with life packed away in a small trailer has freed me from the mental congestion created by technology, clarifying what’s fundamental to my sanity, health, and general well-being. The folks that house us for a night may not understand the greatness of the gift they give when they open their doors to us – good food, a warm (or cool) place to relax, and some fresh conversation. They’re making a social investment in us.
Our longest ride to date, over 90 miles and through nasty thunderstorms, led us into Indiana where we stayed for two days with friends of Matt Kendig, a guy we met on Couch Surfing, and an ambitious young gardener who’s found his green thumb with the help of a few books, Square Foot Gardening techniques, and Cricket Bread. (continues after the jump)
Posted by Robert DuBois | May 24, 2010
Tom Stearns is the founder of High-Mowing Organic Seeds in Wolcott, VT, and one of the agripreneurs redefining how we think about local food as a viable agricultural option.
Posted by Robert DuBois | May 22, 2010
Allcyn Hart owns Circa restaurant in Cazenova, NY. Seasonal, local ingredients are always on the menu, the food is phenomenal, and entrees can be purchased for under $10. Impressive.
Posted by Robert DuBois | May 18, 2010
We were truly inspired by the urban permaculture being put into practice by the folks at The Green Triangle in Cleveland, OH.
Posted by Robert DuBois | May 17, 2010
Posted by Aaron Zueck | May 15, 2010
We watched the hills of Central New York, and the toll it took on our legs, roll away under our feet. We’ve been hitting the pavement pretty hard, moving through the Finger Lakes Region, along the banks of Lake Erie and finally into Cleveland. The quaint New England villages are gone, and so are the road shoulders. We’ve met some good folks here and are starting to see some of the community’s local food happenings firsthand.
Posted by Robert DuBois | May 07, 2010
This is the first of many videos we’ve captured of folks answering the question, “what does local food mean to you?” Suffice it to say we haven’t heard the same story twice.
Adele Hayes runs the Sap Bush Hollow farm, a beautiful pasture-based farm in Cobleskill, NY. Their farm supplies at least 50 families’ food over the course of the year.
Posted by Aaron Zueck | May 04, 2010
After one more day heading south through Vermont on the beautiful Champlain Lake Bikeway, we crossed the Larabees Ferry – a beautiful 2 dollar ride across the lake. And all of the sudden we were in New York. The unofficial state car of Vermont, the Subaru, was now less common. Barroom conversations seemed to revolve around horse and car racing, and surely lawn-care, since we were seeing fresh-cut grass everywhere. And the unified local-food pride we’d seen in Vermont was less apparent – syrup and cheese stands proudly proclaiming their foods’ local heritage, which were common in Vermont, had disappeared, or at least been more broadly displaced by Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, and Stewart’s.
But the terrain lost none of its beauty.
Posted by Aaron Zueck | Apr 28, 2010
A snowstorm? We first heard rumors of the impending weather on Monday afternoon, when it was a delightful 68 degrees in Hardwick. Maybe it seemed too outlandish, or maybe we just didn’t want to believe it. But by the time we made it out of Montpelier the heavy, cold rain had turned to snow, and believers we were. Our first day in the saddle was going to be a tough one. In the next 6 or so hours we saw (and felt) biting rain and slushy, wet snow. Thanks go out to Onion River Sports for the plastic bags that covered our gloves, and lined our shoes.
Posted by Aaron Zueck | Apr 26, 2010
Here we go, everyone. Our local food journey across America has officially begun. Thanks for coming along.
Saturday night, we stayed up til 2 a.m. packing, took a whirlwind subway ride with our bikes and over 100 pounds of gear, and rode our first loaded miles of the trip (3 of them, from Columbus Circle to 97th Street). After an hour or so of learning the finer points of trunk-mount bike racks, we were on our way to Vermont.
Posted by Robert DuBois | Apr 23, 2010
Join us tonight at 7:30 for our cookoff/fundraiser/potluck (bluegrass included). This is our last stop before officially starting our journey in Hardwick, Vermont, on Sunday.
Friday, April 23rd, 7:30pm
1701 Kilbourne Pl NW (Mt. Pleasant) – in the garden
$10–$15 suggested donation, but of course no one will be turned away.
Cookoff – Bring a locally-sourced dish (if possible) to enter into our cookoff! Dish must be submitted by 7:50pm, and provide 20 small servings. Winners announced at 9:00pm.
1. Green sprouts donated by Tree and Leaf Farm (get your grow on!)
2. A copy of the Lucid Food cookbook (delish seasonal recipes)
Potluck – Don’t want to enter into the cookoff, or can’t make it by 7:50? Bring a dish or drink, no competition attached.
Bluegrass – Guitars, mandolins, and lots of harmony. Bring an instrument and join in.
Fundraiser – $10 – $15 suggested donation to help us cover some of bikeloc’s local food costs on the road.
Let’s eat some food!
Here we will keep you up to speed on our progress and current events. More…