It was perhaps one of the most gorgeous days I can recall experiencing in the District: 78 and sunny with a light breeze. What perfect weather to introduce a whole new group of bicycling food lovers to some of the more amazing farms and community gardens around town. Things kicked off with seed packet spoke card making and a tour of the Neighborhood Farm Initiative's main garden in Fort Totten. Then the group proceeded to get an introduction to youth gardening and environmental programming at the aforementioned Washington Youth Garden (sweetened by some trail mix goodies, courtesy of a store credit from GLUT), a primer on composting and bee keeping at the Farm at Walker Jones (with fresh fruit and granola bars donated by Whole Foods), a look into intergenerational gardening and youth enterprise at City Blossoms' Marion Street garden (featuring lovely fresh herbal teas and lemonade for thirsty riders), and, only slightly behind schedule in spite of everything, an overview of permaculture, rain collection, and community programming at Common Good City Farm. The excitement and enthusiasm of farmers and cyclists was positively infectious, and I found myself grinning uncontrollably. Yes, even before a couple of beers at the closing happy hour at Big Bear Cafe. (Love that place.)
As things wound down, one person after another came up to thank me for organizing things and ask me when the next ride would be. Well, avid cyclists, future urban farming volunteers, and potential supporters, I hope this is the beginning of a tradition of local food-focused bicycle adventures around my favorite city. We shall see. (I will be sure to get a second opinion -- and a little less wine in me -- before printing out the cue sheet for round two.)
Thank you to The Greenhorns for providing the impetus for this bike tour, to the nearly 60 cyclists who attended the event, to the organizations that donated snacks. But most of all, thank you to my urban farming friends who are teaching us how to grow food, build community, and live more sustainably in the nation's capital.
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