Winter of 2007, Kate wrote a proposal for a bike tour of farms in the U.S. for Keen’s STAND sustainability grant contest. The original proposal follows:
On average, our food travels 1,500 miles to reach our plates. How does 1,500 miles impact our environment and communities? These thoughts ran through my mind as I biked to and volunteered in community gardens throughout Seattle. This inspired my idea to bike 1,500 miles across the United States during planting season, visiting small farms, food groups, schools and universities. My purpose was to raise awareness about our food systems, help spread heirloom seeds and support a sustainable food system that reduces energy use and supports biodiversity.
Exploring connections between our food and the environment on a bicycle cultivates appreciation for our cultural landscapes. As an alternative form of transportation, recreation, and ecotourism, cycling supports and creates sustainable communities. Such sustainability will require reduced energy usage in agricultural transportation and production. This demands the support of local food systems and increased agricultural biodiversity. Currently only eight crops provide three-quarters of the world’s food supply. I hope to change this by spreading diverse heirloom seeds and seeds of knowledge along this journey.
The funding from Keen will support a bottom-up approach to promote food system awareness, bicycle travel opportunities, and the preservation of agricultural biodiversity for the larger goal of achieving a sustainable nation.
A few days before receiving notice of Keen’s acceptance of the proposal, Kate accepted an offer to serve as a sustainable agriculture volunteer in Peace Corps Panama. The bike trip was postponed and the funding from Keen left to be safeguarded in the bank.
Now, after working as a sustainable agriculture volunteer in rural Panama for 2 years, she is ready to continue with the idea of the bike trip–the new extended version through Central America, but not alone. A few close companions will join the team, seeking adventure and a chance to continue helping improve what we can in the world .
The adventure continues with Cycles of Change.