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Summer (Bike) Fun: Bike to the Farm!

At Dickinson College, located in rural central Pennsylvania, farming is nothing new. The campus farm is a fifty-acre, USDA-certified organic farm, which serves as a “living laboratory” for students. How do bikes fit in the mix? We spoke with Lindsey Lyons, assistant director of the college’s Center for Sustainability Education, to learn more about the Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University’s Bike to Farm Potluck.

Where did the idea for this come from?

Center for Sustainability Education staff and student interns wanted to increase biking at Dickinson, introduce students to the College Farm, and provide options to students, faculty & staff to interact together around biking. Group bike rides were common here, but why not ride together to an event? The bike to farm potluck was born as a way to build community through biking.

Why by bike?

Dickinson is committed to carbon neutrality by 2020. We are doing everything we can to reduce emissions on campus. Increasing methods and opportunities for sustainabile transportation is one way to help with this. By providing bike safety programs, increasing access, and building events around the biking theme we have been able to get more Dickinsonians on bikes and more confident in their skills and abilities to ride longer distances.

Why a potluck?

Dickinson supports the local food movement and sees value in cooking and eating together. Not only does it build community, it can teach life skills and help others try new foods, learn new recipes, and support the local food movement as best as possible. Potlucks are low key, fun, and help everyone share in the success of the event.

How many people do you usually get on these rides?

We have been doing the Bike to Farm Potluck since 2009. We have anywhere from 30-100 Dickinson students, faculty, staff and/or alumni on the rides. We have bike share for free, offer free helmet loan, offer tune ups in The Handlebar before the event and provide a safety overview for all participants as to how to safely ride in groups.

What kind of farm is the Dickinson College Organic Farm?

Dickinson’s College Farm is a fifty-acre, USDA-certified organic farm and a living laboratory where students can gain distinctive, hands-on learning experiences.

Student employees, graduate apprentices and volunteers are involved in all aspects of food production and research. Students in a wide variety of disciplines learn about renewable energy and sustainable agriculture through workshops and volunteering opportunities. On-site classes and independent research projects give students unique insights into complex mathematics, the role of food in global politics, public art projects, Buddhist philosophies and more.

The farm provides food to the campus and local community. The majority of the harvest is sold to the campus Dining Hall, with a significant portion earmarked for the farm’s Campus Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program, a May-November produce subscription that feeds more than 155 members and their families.

The farm also sells produce through a bountiful stand at Carlisle’s thriving weekly farmers’ market and donates thousands of pounds of fresh produce to a local food bank, Project S.H.A.R.E.

To learn more, visit