400 Parts per Million

At the beginning, already five years ago, I began writing in this blog as a way of conveying my thoughts on environmental, social and personal issues.  I have long been an activist for environmental and humanitarian causes and at one point I was much more eager to share my thoughts about troubling issues.  Before FoodCycle launched, before there was ever a mission or a ride to support sustainable food in schools, there were thoughts about how to change a system that isn’t working for us, for our communities.  In essence this was the genesis for FoodCycle; my answer in some small way was in creation, the creation of something tangible that could combat an element to our culture that is killing our environment (and by association us): Industrial Agriculture.

In the years since this blog launched the tone and subject of our posts has focused more and more on updates about our work rather than opinions on larger systemic challenges facing  us, the inhabitants of this beautiful earth, due to the advance of global climate change.  With  no formal fundraising cause in the works, and while I sit and reflect on the small piece of the larger puzzle FoodCycle has tried to address, I offer this blog entry on recent observations to salient news events,

Last month, in Hawaii, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were measured at 402 parts per million (ppm).  This number marks the highest level of atmospheric CO2 levels in the 3.5 million years that represent human existence on earth.  It constitutes a concentration that’s nearly 15% higher than 350 ppm-a number that renowned author, activist, and founder of 350.org Bill Mckibben as well as many others have targeted as ideal to the condition of human life on Earth.  The sad and sobering reality is that if all anthropogenic sources of carbon emission ceased right now the concentration of atmospheric CO2 would continue to rise due to large terrestrial carbon sinks and the melting of permafrost carbon pools.  Compounding this issue is the fact that as recently as last week a 2016 Presidential candidate from the Republican Party vehemently rejected the notion the Climate Change exists-noting that “In New Hampshire there was snow everywhere.”

To highlight this banal rhetoric a Senator from Oklahoma threw a snow ball during a Senate hearing as if to underscore a disastrous logic that disassociates us from our own actions.  We can’t possibly be to blame for this, and plus it’s snowing in the Capital so who cares about the crippling drought consuming the most populous state in the country.  It’s too scary to believe, so business as usual it is!

I no longer believe we can rely on top down measures to combat the greatest issue of our time.  I no longer believe that sensible policy should be expected from those we elect to represent us.  I no longer believe that there’s room for the false pretense of “good choices” in an industrial society, that by driving a more efficient vehicle or recycling or composting we’re somehow doing enough to mitigate global crises.  It’s not enough.  It’s still too heavy a burden for this Earth of ours to bare.

What I do believe however is that we must fundamentally alter how we perceive consumption.  We need a new Consumption Consciousness.   We consume. this is something we cannot avoid.  We breathe consuming nitrogen, oxygen and other trace gasses, we drink consuming the beautiful bonded molecule of hydrogen and oxygen, we eat consuming the calories needed to advance the metabolic process.  But how did we get to a place where we feel entitled to every other form of consumption that defines our daily lives?  What does it take to break the bonds of this entitlement and where does one start?  These are the questions I see everywhere now, leading me to decisions that have (hopefully) life-long implications.

I’m beginning this journey-wherever it leads.

Adam

A new Journey awaits…

This Summer riders from FoodCycle are happy to announce they will hit the road again for a Maine to Canada bike ride.  Though shorter in duration and scope than our epic 2012 ride across the United States, this trip has us more than excited.  We are tentatively planning to depart from Portland, Maine for Halifax, Nova Scotia on August 1st.  As dates, routes and plans are finalized we’ll be updating this blog regularly.  Also, keep an eye out for our website (www.foodcycleus.com) which should go live again in the coming weeks.  Until then…

Cheers,

The FoodCycle Team

3,436!

Three thousand four hundred and thirty six.   That number represents the pounds of locally grown organic produce that we have worked hard to provide for Brunswick, Maine schools since 2012.  This past week Schools in Brunswick received our final installment of carrots and beets for the winter.  In our nearly 18 month relationship working with the Brunswick Schools we have collaborated to invest over $6,000 into our local economy by purchasing goods from the dedicated farmers at Six River Farm (Bowdoinham, Maine) and Fairwinds Farm (Topsham, Maine).  As we look back to celebrate the relative successes we’ve experienced over this period a new challenge is on the forefront:

How will we continue to support investment in locally foods in our schools?

We knew at FoodCycle, that eventually, the time would come that our financial resources would run out.  After aggressively fundraising during parts of 2011 and throughout our cross country ride in 2012 we decided to focus our emphasis on implementing a purchasing and delivery model when we returned home.  We have collaborated with school administrators and farmers, facilitating exciting working relationships that hadn’t previously existed.  The reality however is that we have funded these food purchases 100% from the generous contributions of our supporters, people like you.  Now the real work begins. Knowing now that a local food system as abundant and accessible as ours is in the Midcoast can provide higher quality foods for our schools-how do we keep the momentum?  How do we implore our municipal, state and federal governments to create incentives to opt into local food systems instead of food commodities programs?

The next phase will be a challenging one, but we’re excited to take up the fight.

Stay posted.

.-The FoodCycle Team

 

School Delivery!

Last week Brunswick Schools received 375 pounds of organic carrots from Six River Farm in Bowdoinham.  In addition to the delicious carrots, students in Brunswick schools will also be tasting organic  butternut squash and organic cabbage on the lunch menu over the coming weeks.

WP_20131021_008 WP_20131021_004 WP_20131021_001 WP_20131021_006

Running the Numbers-A Year Later

Unbelievable to think that today marks the one year anniversary of our journey’s beginning.  365 days ago we left a small gathering of friends and set off on our first of what would be 107 days of learning and living while cycling across the USA.  It’s with this special date in mind that we are happy to provide tangible numbers that connect the generous donations we received to the locally grown foods being served  in  public schools in Brunswick, Maine.  

2012-13 School lunch purchases (All items locally sourced *denotes MOFGA certified Organic)

1,780 lbs *Carrots

300 lbs Potatoes

190 lbs *Beets

160 lbs *Squash

60 lbs *Cabbage 

With 40% of our initial funds in tact we hope to provide an assortment of fresh summer vegetables and greens for the beginning of next school year while continuing to create future opportunities for growth, education, collaboration and sustainable forms of funding.

Best, 

-Adam

Our Work in Action

As we settle into a familiar winter slumber in New England and await our inevitable march away from the sun, we are happy to report a lot of activity in creating access to local organic foods for Maine’s School Children.  Working with local School Nutrition Directors, Teachers and Administrators as well as Six River Farm (Bowdoinham, Maine) and Fairwinds Farm (Topsham, Maine) we have established monthly farm visits to pick up produce that will fortify school lunch menus district wide.  Utilizing the funds generated from  individuals and organizations across the United States we have established a monthly purchasing and pick up schedule that will ultimately infuse $8,000 into the local economy.  By supporting the fruits of diversified small-scale agriculture  we aim to influence regional  school nutrition reform and create positive and healthy learning alternatives for children grades K-5 in Brunswick, Maine.  To date we have successfully purchased and delivered:

650 lbs Organic Carrots

160 lbs Organic Winter Squash (Acorn & Butternut)

150 lbs Organic Potatoes (Russett & Chieftan)

100 lbs Organic Beets

40 lbs of Organic Cabbage

In total we hope to deliver over 1 ton of locally grown produce by the coming spring.  As the   weather warms and the soil is again ready to be tilled we will working with Six River to grow early spring greens and tomatoes for the end of the 2012-13 school year.

Best,

Adam

First Food Pick up

Today we visited out friends at Six River Farm in Bowdoinham, picking up our first of three fall produce orders.

Today we grabbed:

500# Carrots, 60# Cabbage, 40# Beets, 40# Butternut Squash, 40# Acorn Squash

That’s nearly 700 pounds of organic, locally sourced vegetables for students at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary (and other schools throughout the district)!