by Jen Brennan
I’m a big fan of cycling. Not competitively, but as both a mode of transportation and a way to tour around our beautiful province. The past two summers, my bike and I have seen some breathtaking scenery on Galiano Island, toured wine country in the Okanagan, got [a little too] close and personal with a family of black bears in Whistler, and most recently, snacked our way up the Pemberton Valley for last weekend’s Slow Food Cycle. For those who have never heard of this amazing event, the Pemberton Slow Food Cycle is a 50km scenic ride through the fertile farmlands of the Pemberton Valley. Every year on a Sunday afternoon in August, some 4,000 hungry bikers of all ages meander their way on two wheels, making frequent pit stops at the many farms along the route to sample local produce, organic fruit, homemade honey, and freshly baked bread. It’s a wonderful opportunity for families to get outside and get active in one of the most breathtaking places on earth.
As I progressed my way from potato farms to lemonade stands, I was particularly struck by how excited all the children were to be on their bikes and see what tasty goodies awaited them around the next corner. I couldn’t help but think what a wonderful opportunity an event such as this is for kids to learn about where their food comes from, why we need to protect our valuable farmlands, and what fun it can be to get some exercise at the same time! I truly believe in the cause of the Slow Food Cycle, which is to connect consumers with the farmers who grow our food. When we take the time to learn about the importance of our farmland, and how lucky we are to have so many local food choices within our reach, we start to appreciate how valuable and fragile our environment is. It’s wonderful to see the next generation taking part in that learning, and I hope to soon see a new ‘crop’ (pun intended) of young farmers carry on what may become the start of a positive new way of eating.
***The Healthy Schools BC portal has great programs and resources for educators around the province who are interested in starting or enhancing agricultural learning at their school, such as a school garden. Educators, please click here to see some programs and resources available to you!
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