on September 28, 2017 by test_editor in Archive_2017, Print Articles, September, WEB-EXTRA content, Comments (0)

September 28, 2017: Biking Gets a Little Greener; Growing Futures at NCC’s Bike Days.

September 28, 2017: Biking Gets a Little Greener;
Growing Futures at NCC’s Bike Days.

By Lucia Eyzaguirre.

It all started in May, when the National Capital Commission made a call to action for all its young entrepreneurs to set up kiosks along the Parkway for Sunday Bike Days. As the administrative assistant for the Parkdale Food Centre’s Growing Futures, I was thrilled. A chance for our youth to be in the public eye? Outside in the sunshine? Yes, please!

Let me back up and introduce the wonderful organization I work for. The Parkdale Food Centre ( PFC ) is a food bank that works to increase food security and food justice in its community.

The Centre hosts cooking workshops and has a plethora of programs that foster and strengthen community ties and individual skills. One of those programs is Growing Futures, which is a social enterprise that uses hydroponic growing systems to teach youth about food, finance, and entrepreneurship, thereby laying the groundwork for a healthier and more resilient community.

We have almost 40 hydroponic systems all over the city, and half of those in primary school classrooms. It all sounds great on paper, but I promise it’s a thousand times better in person.

Naturally, the NCC’s invitation to participate in the Bike Days was appealing. Thus began an adventure. We recruited a small group of students ( the majority of which were boys) who had been in a Growing Futures classroom at Connaught Public School.

The youth had experience growing and selling greens, and fit the bill for young entrepreneurs. We had some extra frozen greens that the students had grown during the school year, so the students thought green smoothies could be a good idea. But then – how would we possibly have fresh green smoothies on a bike path?

Enter the Greenilicious Blender Bike. One of our incredible volunteers put together a blender bike, which blends as you pedal. We had a product and a way to make it. Off the students went.

Seeing a group of 4 ten-year-olds giving up part of their weekends to sell pedal-powered green smoothies was indescribable. The youth laughed, talked to bikers, rapped about their business, and made sales.

Their kiosk was set up for 3 consecutive Sundays. On the last day, Growing Futures’ neighbour was a sugar-free, dairy-free ice cream kiosk run by a young girl. Instead of competing, our students decided to collaborate with their neighbour and cross-promote each others’ products. They even made a special green smoothie that incorporated some of the young lady’s fruit, sold it at a higher price, and split the profits!

Since July, Growing Futures students have been invited to Baconpalooza and Farm Boy Westboro to showcase their Greenilicious Blender Bike and Smoothies. This is only the beginning. Watch our website ( http:\\www.growingfutures.ca ) for upcoming Blender Bike events. Come support your community’s physical and financial health, as well as your own, by coming to our Blender Bike Events and purchasing your very own Greenilicious Smoothie. I promise you’ll love it.

To see a photo of the amazing Greenilicious Blender Bike, visit newswest.org (below).

5 kids in red aprons and an adult with the rear wheel powerd blender on a staionary bike

Not quite 18 speed…

Photo Caption: Of couirse the bike was staionary. Otherwise the customers would have to chase the volunteer down the bumpy street for every smoothie ordered.

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