Urban Gardening & Entrepreneurship
The Pedal Farmers program has engaged young adults from Newark between the ages of 15 to 21 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 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 paid job and helps sets the stage for future successes. We aim to expand Pedal Farmers to more participants in 2020 beyond and to also expand our reach beyond the summer months by providing programming and leadership opportunities during the school year.
Interested in Becoming a Pedal Farmer?
If you are interested in becoming a pedal farmer or learning more about the program submit your name and email and our Program Director will reach out to you with more information.
Sprucing Up the West Kinney Community Garden
Over the past two years, the Pedal Farmers have completed several art-based projects to beautify their gardening space at the West Kinney Community Garden in downtown Newark. Using existing features of the space and recycled or upcycled materials, they have created a custom-painted mural from an abandoned cinder block as well as a custom-designed and hand painted sign for the community garden. These projects have helped provide them with an outlet for their artistic talents and helped to transform the garden space in a welcoming place for community members to come and gather.
Hitting the Streets of Newark
Each summer, the Pedal Farmers travel around Newark on their bikes, using them for all of their transportation needs for the program. Collectively, each Pedal Farmer cycles about 500 miles each summer during the six-week program, helping them to stay active and learn safe riding skills. We owe a special thanks to the New Jersey EZ Ride program, who sent a team out to help our 2019 Pedal Farmers learn about safe bike riding skills and set up a safety course for them to practice before they hit the streets of Newark! In addition, Burley generously donated new bike trailers for our Pedal Farmers to use when transporting their equipment and products to the community garden and the Lincoln Park Farmers Market.