Urban Gardening & Entrepreneurship
The Pedal Farmers program has engaged young adults from Newark in urban gardening and horticulture every summer since 2007. The program is designed to provide hands-on job training, develop business and entrepreneurship skills, and allow for participating students to expand their own sense of what is possible for themselves and their community.
Students in the Pedal Farmers program grow fresh organic produce at two growing sites in Newark: on Washington Street in the South Ward and a community garden site located on West Kinney Street in the Central Ward. They work together to turn this produce into fresh organic products, like salsa and pesto, to sell at the local farmer’s market.
To get around between gardens, their production facility, and the farmer’s market, they use bikes. For some, it’s their first time ever riding a bike! They learn to maintain and fix their equipment, advocate for safer cycling in the city, and when the program ends get to keep the bike, expanding what is possible for them in their own city.
The program uses gardens, the market, and the community as living, experiential classrooms where participants learn about agriculture, sustainability, food production and healthy living, while also teaching tangible and transferable business skills. Each year, participants develop a business plan, track their expenses and profits, market their products, and manage sales. Any profits are divided equally among the participants.
For most of our participants, this is their first real job and helps sets the stage for future successes. We aim to expand Pedal Farmers to more participants in 2019 and to also expand our reach beyond the summer months by providing programming and leadership opportunities during the school year.