Strong Communities Make Biking Better: League Staff Get Down and Dirty
Of course, if you ask me, I’m going to tell you that the League is my favorite nonprofit, but we all know that I’m biased. That being said, there are so many other groups doing amazing work in all different capacities, and the best way to find out about them is to get out and experience their work firsthand.
Making a better world for everyone who bikes reaches beyond the work we do, and it’s so important to celebrate the people who are fighting for equity that indirectly and directly make our communities better for all of us. Access to bikes, housing, healthy food and safe streets are just the beginning of allowing everyone access to the beauty of bike joy.
To take a small part in this, our staff has been ditching the office every so often to get dirty and sweaty with some phenomenal people. At Bikes for the World, Yvette Hess and Todd McDonald taught us how to properly stack hundreds of donated bikes into a shipping container destined for El Salvador. Now the bikes are being used in workshops that certify more women all over the country as mechanics, and lead them on a path to gainful employment.
Bikes for the World has donated over 175,000 bikes to programs in 29 countries that improve lives, from the Bike Rangers Program through the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association to Phoenix Bikes in Arlington, VA, right in our backyard.
This month, we volunteered in the Capital Area Food Bank’s Urban Demonstration Garden. Avery Cross, who helps run the “learning laboratory,” showed us how the garden helps communities all around the DC area learn to mitigate food scarcity challenges and take hunger solutions into their own hands. According to the CAFB 2020 Hunger Report, one out of ten residents of the metropolitan Washington region is food insecure, and nearly a third of them are children.
With the help of the Urban Demo Garden, community members are given the skills to grow healthy, sustainable produce in areas where it’s otherwise hard to find. We got the chance to do some weeding and painting, and got to take home some delicious basil and figs picked straight from the garden. We talked about the benefits of different types of urban gardening styles that take advantage of limited space, good pollinators, and even got to check out a new solar pizza oven. The garden often hosts open garden nights, where the community can take anything that happens to be in season for free.
This is only the beginning for the League staff working in tandem with our peers on a smaller scale in our local communities. Being able to take the time as a team to see incremental change reflected in our neighborhoods gives us hope and reignites the fire in us to keep working towards a country that’s connected and supportive of everyone’s autonomy.
We’ll continue to do our part to support the interconnectedness of our community, and hope you do the same, whether on bike or off. We’re better together, always.