For 2012, we hit the streets – 70 miles worth – for a round trip adventure to Seattle Tilth Farm Works. 2012 marked our 2nd year of farming and our 2nd annual bike ride.

With feedback from almost 100 cyclists from the year prior, we switched things up a bit. The big changes? A longer route with a destination that tied in more intimately to our work. This year, we partnered with ONE, a grassroots organization fighting extreme poverty based in Washington, DC, as a means to connect local, national and global issues in agriculture.

The 70 mile route brought us to Seattle Tilth’s Farm Works, a farm incubator program working with refugee families, in Auburn, WA. Here, cyclists got to nibble on lunch from Chaco Canyon Cafe (DIY sandwiches are the best!) and explore the farm – and meet some of the families involved in the work.

Originally, we had held a crop mob at the farm the year prior – that day was the inspiration for selecting it as a destination for the ’12 ride. Take a peek at that crop mob – and meet some of the farmers:

Summer 2011 Crop Mob from alleycat acres on Vimeo.

This year, registration launched in January and we had a number of promotions – from free registration on our birthday to free registration for Zipcar and Seattle Tilth members – to help encourage folks to register.

Over the next two months, we held a series of training rides to help everyone prepare for the 70 miles that was to take place again in March – March 3rd to be exact. During this time, we filled up 100 slots and all the riders were hard at work raising funds. The top prize this year? A trip for two to Washington, DC, to meet with ONE and learn more about their work in a global setting – as well as an opportunity to meet fellow urban farmers in the nation’s Capitol. We tried to get a meeting with the POTUS, but try as we might, we didn’t quite get that opportunity. But maybe next time!

Keeping our fingers crossed for two months lead to another wonderful sunny (for Seattle) event day.

Riders arrived at the MLK FAME Community Center at 8 AM and stocked up on some early breakfast nibbles to fuel their first half of their ride. By 9 AM, a special guest appearance by Mayor Mike McGinn left riders with a further sense of accomplishment and purpose. After the brief talk, high fives, and thanks, riders hit the streets en route to Auburn.

Riders braved the streets through Renton, to the first rest stop at Key Bank. From there, they hopped on the Interurban Trail, and hit another rest stop right before the their climb through Auburn.

After the most challenging part of the ride – the climb to the farm – riders were greeted with food, high fives, and fun at Seattle Tilth’s Farm Works.

Post farm, we rode over the river and through the woods – not to grandma’s house, but to hop on the Green River Trail and head back home to Seattle – with a couple of rest stops along the way to warm up and energize after 40 miles of cycling.

At the end, we ate good food and gave away some sweet swag. Prize packages were awarded to (a) the top fundraiser: a trip to Washington, DC, including flight, hotel & transportation provided by Zipcar; (b) the person who recruited the most riders: a custom bike shelf by Independent Woodworks and a custom Swift Industries bag; (c) riders who raised more than $500: A snowboard from CAPiTA Snowboards, snowboarding accessories by Coal Headwear, and a nice warm winter jacket from Nau. Additional sponsors included:

Backfire Chiropractic, CAPiTA Snowboarding, Chef’n, Chinook Book, Coal, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Independent Woodworks, Jubilee Biodynamic Farm, Nau, Omni Hotel, The RE Store, Swift Industries, and Tilth Restaurant, Zipcar.

We also had support from:

Beacon Bikes, Bike Works, Chaco Canyon Cafe, Frogbox, KIND Snacks, New Belgium Brewing, Seattle Bike Blog and Tougo Coffee Co.

In all, we raised almost $12,000 to keep the farms running. With a dozen or so less riders this year than the year prior, although we raised less than 2011, we were still amazed at the support and are forever humble to all of your hard work – riding and raising ain’t an easy task!

Our arms are still sore from all the high fives we gave out that night. But we’re eager to get the wheels turning for ’13. Hope to see all of the same faces – and new ones, too, next year!


Washington, DC was amazing. We met with filmmaker Cintia Cabib, who filmed the documentary A Community Of Gardeners, and went on a walking tour of three different farms: Bread For The City, Marion St. Garden, and Common Good City Farm, all profiled in the video. The friends we all met and the work we experienced being done changed all of us who were present – so much so that it’s hard to explain.

Marion St. Garden

Common Good City Farm

If you’re ever out in DC, be sure to check out all of those farms! You’ll leave inspired and hungry to help create change. And if you need some kick ass photos taken of you, an event or anything else, check out Erinn J. Hale Photography – she’s awesome!