Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Laura, Jen, Mark and Carolyn ride the Tour de Farms

There are few things better than eating delicious fresh food at a local farm on a beautiful summer day. It's even more special when you arrive and leave on a bike to visit another local farm and sample some more!

Last Saturday's first annual Tour de Farms sprung from an idea that my neighbor and I hatched one morning last winter as we rode our bikes to work. He works for the city on an effort to promote biking and sustainable communities in Boston. When I mentioned the connection to sustainable farming... voila, Tour de Farms was hatched.

It was the ideal biking day - at 7:00am the thermometer outside my kitchen window read 57 degrees, the sky was cloudless and there was not even a whisper of wind... "Perfect!" I said to myself as I brewed some coffee and frantically looked for my bike gloves and helmet.

Anticipating 20 to 30 riders at most, I was floored when nearly 60 riders,
ages ranging from 10 to 65, gathered at 8:30am in Boston's Franklin Park.
The NPR sports program "It's Only a Game" even sent a reporter to ride and do a story!

Rather than a ride outside of Boston to tour some of the larger farms, we
decided to do a tour mainly in town to visit some of the urban agricultural
projects that are linking local agriculture to fresh food, good nutrition
and access for low income communities. We visited three farms, each unique
and inspiring: one worked with homeless women, one worked with urban youth
and the other was providing food for local food pantries and a senior
feeding program. Riders got to hear about these projects, learn how they
could get involved, and sample delicious farm-fresh food at each site: fresh
pesto, a variety of heirloom tomatoes, and fresh gazpacho.

Organizing what we hope is an annual event, we at Farm Aid are always
looking for new ways to link those who want good food to the farmers who are
committed to growing it. "Farms, food and bikes." We have to work on the
slogan, but the concept sure feels right!

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