FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA, PA, Sept. 9 — Weavers Way’s Urban Farm Bike Ride turns 10 this year. But like the scene it celebrates — Philadelphia’s dynamic, diverse and vibrant urban farming community — it’s not slowing down one bit.
This year’s tour includes five new stops, plus four old favorites featuring new things to see, taste and experience.
The ride, presented by Lindy Communities, is Saturday, Sept. 19, from 8 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. The nine farm locations are divided into two itineraries in North, West and Southwest Philadelphia, with both routes beginning and ending at Philadelphia Brewing Company in Kensington.
Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Weavers Way Community Programs, which is dedicated to educating underserved young people and adults about farming, healthy eating and community values, through activities centered on urban agriculture, nutrition and the cooperative economy.
“Celebrating 10 years is not just a milestone for this ride, but presents a terrific opportunity to see how Philadelphia’s landscape has changed over the last 10 years as the city and its residents have embraced small-scale urban agriculture,” said WWCP Executive Director Jill Fink.
Weavers Way Board President Chris Hill helped originate the ride in 2006 as an adjunct to the Farm Aid concert being held that year in Camden. “That year and every year since, the thing that blew people away was the opportunity to see the city in a safe way and meet these dedicated farmers who had this set of skills and a vibrant devotion to what they do.”
Participants get to scout out the Philadelphia farming scene from the seats of their bicycles, in a friendly group ride at a moderate pace, with water and snacks provided along the way. Riders can choose their route on the day of the ride; the longer option, including West and Southwest Philadelphia farms, is approximately 18 miles, while the shorter one, with stops in North Philadelphia and Kensington, is about 13 miles. Riders also get a 2015 Urban Farm Bike Ride T-shirt and, of course, pizza and great local beer at PBC’s historic digs at 2440 Frankford Ave.
This year, the afterparty will have a down-to-earth focus on the crucial issue of preserving of open space. Representatives from Soil Generation, formerly Healthy Food Green Spaces, a coalition that has fought for community gardens and city’s Land Bank law, will be on hand.
Urban farmers, in conjunction with affordable-housing, community, labor, faith and disability-rights groups, organized to win a transparent, accountable Land Bank. While it is not yet up and running, advocates are working to ensure that the Land Bank achieves its mission to provide more access to land, not only for development but also for community gardens, farms, affordable housing and green space.
In addition, City Councilman Bobby Henon, a supporter of urban farming, will speak.
“Making sure Philadelphians have access to fresh, local and healthy foods requires many partners,” Henon said. “Weavers Way and WWCP have been leaders in promoting urban agriculture for years, and the Urban Bike Ride has been a key component of that work. I’m thrilled to be involved.”
New to the ride in 2015 are:
- The Nationalities Service Center /PHS City Harvest’s Growing Together Garden in South Philadelphia, serving newly arrived immigrants and just dedicated in August. The organization’s Emily Street garden was on the tour in 2011.
- Two neighboring sites in West Kensington, Las Parcelas (Norris Square Neighborhood Project) and The Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden.
- Guild House Farm, the community garden at Guild House West, residence for low-income seniors in North Philadelphia, and upstairs, Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm.
- Carousel House Farm in West Fairmount Park, a project of Teens for Good, whose North Philadelphia farm has been on the ride before.
The 2015 lineup also includes these old friends:
- Mill Creek Farm in West Philadelphia, a regular stop over the last decade that’s celebrating its own 10th birthday.
- Farm 51 in Southwest Philadelphia, with its weekly farm market.
- The 3.5-acre Community Farm and Food Resource Center at Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philadelphia.
- Emerald Street Community Farm, a communal grassroots oasis in Kensington.
Many of the sponsors are regulars too, including Weavers Way Co-op, whose Farm Committee organized the ride in its early years, and Lindy Communities, the Northwest Philadelphia-based real-estate management company that is the presenting sponsor this year.
Lindy recently launched a bike-share program for residents at its properties, and some of the new bikes will be on the ride.
“Weavers Way and WWCP share our mission of working in collaboration with neighbors to strengthen community,” said Lindy Chief Operating Officer Carolyn Hirsh. “Lindy believes ‘Home’ is more than where one lives. Weavers Way connects people, ideas and values and promotes living well in ways we can all aspire to.”
Other return sponsors are Digital Innovation, a Mt. Airy-based security and technology solutions provider, and Philadelphia Brewing Company. New this year are Equal Exchange, which promotes sustainable agriculture projects all over the world; Clif Bar, the California energy bar company with a high profile in the bicycling community; and South Philadelphia’s Awesome Dudes Printing, which is providing the riders’ commemorative T-shirts.
Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 on the day of the ride. More information about the ride and registration is available at weaversway.coop/bikeride.
About Weavers Way Community Programs: Since 2007, the nonprofit WWCP has served children, youth and families by providing farm, nutrition, and culinary education programs to help them gain an appreciation for healthy, sustainably grown food. For more information, visit weaversway.coop/wwcp.
About Weavers Way: Founded in 1973 as a neighborhood buying club, “the Co-op” now encompasses two grocery stores, two specialty wellness shops and a pet store in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill. Weavers Way is member-owned, open to the public and committed to offering quality products that are local, sustainable and nutritious. For more information, visit www.weaversway.coop.
Check out this video from 2014 (2 mins.)
Video produced by Jonathan Brown, Steady State Productions