In 2010, 11 strangers came together with the idea of working collaboratively in an effort to turn underutilized urban space into a network of community run farms. Their intent? Mobilize community and turn urban lots into community farms, where produce would be shared between folks who worked the land and neighborhood food banks who need fresh produce. Bicycles played a key role into this effort as the most sustainable (and healthy) choice of transportation on the city streets.
Since the Year of Urban Agriculture in 2010, Alleycat Acres has facilitated the creation of 3 urban farms – ranging from 2,000 sq. ft. to ~ 10,000 sq. ft. – in two neighborhoods in Seattle. Over 1,000 volunteers have set foot on these farms since the beginning and have grown well over 3,000 pounds of fresh produce and fruits, supplied countless dozens of fresh eggs with 8 chickens, and are home to a number of bee hives that produce neighborhood specific honey. Additionally, these farms have become community hubs where folks from all walks of lives meet, interact and share intimate stories about life and food and how a more equitable and just future for all can be created.
Their dedication and hard work has attracted attention from Good Magazine, The American Institute of Architects, Bono’s ONE.ORG and a occasional visits by former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. The team also earned a Green Globe Award – one of the highest levels of recognition awarded to select sustainable organizations by King County – for their work in urban agriculture.
Each year, the organization hosts Streets & Beets, a fully supported bike ride that acts as the sole source of funding for the farms. What’s unique about this ride is that for the majority of cyclists, the distances rode are the furthest they’ve pedaled. Each year also sees an incredibly high turnout of women cyclists. We firmly believe in making cycling accessible to all (which is one of the reasons our stores offer a free bike share), and having such a ride that is inclusive and supportive of all cycling levels is ride up our alley.
Kudos to Alleycat Acres for the work they’ve done and the work they’ll continue to do. We’re proud to support you this year.
Streets & Beets 2014 is a 65 mile ride that will take cyclists out through the beautiful Snoqualmie River Valley on Saturday, May 10th, 2014. Registration is $25 and riders are asked to raise a minimum $100 in donations to participate. You can learn more about this ride and register to roll here.