Sunday, May 22, 2011

If you plan it, they will come

I have to admit I got misty eyed a few times yesterday while leading the (rescheduled) DC urban farms bike tour. I think it really hit me when we arrived at the Washington Youth Garden, part of the National Arboretum, which was the second stop along the route to five urban food growing spaces around town. The near-tears state was no doubt partly due to the near loss of 15 cyclists en route -- a few folks had stopped to help a fellow biker change a flat and had only my less-than-stellar, turn-by-(mis)turn cue sheet to lead them to the next site -- and relief when they showed up about 20 minutes later. God bless smartphones. (Note to self: do not type up cue sheets after wine-filled dinner party the night before the bike tour. It was a lovely meal, even so, Sheffy.) However, I suspect that part of the emotion as I rolled onto the Arboretum grounds with 50-some cyclists in tow surely came from the realization that it was here, just over 2 years ago, that my friend Tom helped me practice shifting gears on my first real bicycle. I know! Ollie and I are all grown up and leading tours now. Well, one so far.

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.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


  1. It was amazing! I really learned a lot. Thank you so much for organizing it.

    - Rebecca

  2. Cycling is my passion too but unfortunately am located in the extreme east part of the world but its nice to see that a lot of people share the same am quite new on blogging,please follow my blog on

    Thks to u all and see u on my blog


Thanks for your comment! Just making sure this isn't spam.... Thanks for your patience. :)Ibti