Farm to Table Cycle: A Journey for Change
Farm to Table Cycle: A Journey for Change is a 16 day, 400-mile solo bicycle and photography journey launched by national non-profit Wholesome Wave to raise awareness about local food systems. Farm to Table Cycle unveils the many facets of our country’s food system, showcasing the critical building blocks that make up a healthy, thriving food system. It shares the story of the countless Americans who work diligently and tirelessly to shape our food system into one that is more equitable, more sustainable and more delicious. Cyclist and world-class photographer Glenn Charles will stop at three dozen farms, farmers markets, fisheries, schools, food pantries, retail outlets, restaurants, and more as he winds his way north along the New England coast.
One entry finds Glenn “walking along the urban streets of Dorchester, MA it was a welcoming sight to find a thriving and bountiful farm beaming with delicious produce.” The urban setting is not the only unique aspect of this farm. This plot, along with another urban farm and green house, form the city education grounds for the Boston wing of New England based non-profit, The Food Project.
Launched over two decades ago, The Food Project began with the idea that agriculture could provide a setting for youth to confront differences in background. Since then this non-profit has expanded tremendously, offering well-developed youth programs while also running production farms that feed the underserved in the area. The fact that they produce $450,000 dollars worth of produce a year suggests they are no small venture. The Food Project works with a solution-oriented mindset, directing their energy in ways that benefit more community than one. Youth in the program operate the farm, build raised beds for people in their community, and become food justice advocates through their time at the project. Moreover, The Food Project’s farms have become community hubs in a neighborhood where there is very little other green space. “The greenhouse is definitely the most magical place, a place where community gathers and all sorts of people come together.” Sutton Kiplinger, the Greater Boston Regional Director places particular emphasis on the unique way The Food Project impacts participating youth. Instead of youth concluding: “I didn’t like vegetables and now I do,” at the end of their involvement they often develop an even more nuanced and empowering approach. “At the end of the program kids are coming to realize: ‘McDonalds doesn’t care about me so I’d rather not give them my money.’”
As Sutton guided us around these agricultural learning spaces she described the myriad hopes she has for restructuring the food system: “Long term there needs to be a rebalancing of all the relationships in the food system. A food system is an ecosystem and it all affects each other. The relationship between the consumer and the farmer is just one relationship we need to mend.”
Glenn Charles is a seasoned adventure traveler and photographer. Since 2009, he has traveled more than 20,000 miles by human powered transportation, including sea kayaking the Inside Passage of Alaska and the Atlantic Ocean from FL to ME, Cycling the southern and western perimeter of the US, biking Alaska, Morocco, the Yukatan, and others. Glenn pairs his travels with stories, sharing his adventures via world class photographs. He is passionate about sustainable food, supporting local farmers, and improving America’s health – both through human powered transportation and food.