Fairview, NC – Gabriel Whitlock is biking for change. A resident of Fairview, NC, and a former intern at The Lord’s Acre non-profit giving farm, Whitlock will cycle almost 1500 miles this January from his home in western NC to Little Rock Arkansas, raising awareness and money along the way.
“Why am I doing it? I’m passionate about cycling, and reducing my carbon footprint,” says Whitlock. “I’m also attending an agriculture conference in Arkansas to engage with others about issues of hunger, and I thought a bike tour would be a way to build community and awareness around giving gardens like the one where I’ve been working. These farms can quite literally transform the food system.”
The Lord’s Acre is the farm where Whitlock has honed in on his passion. The nonprofit farm situated in Fairview, NC donated nearly 170,000 servings of nutrient dense fresh organic produce to people in need this year alone. Additionally, the group hosts close to a thousand volunteers annually, and trains farmers and activists via its yearly intern program. Initiated in 2009 by concerned community members and farmers, The Lord’s Acre also provides key resources and mentorship to other, similar giving gardens throughout the country. Key partners include Black Mountain Community Garden, and Living Web Farms.
Whitlock will leave January 8th and cycle 1,480 miles round trip, passing through the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas, stopping for farm stays along the way and giving small group presentations about giving gardens like The Lord’s Acre. He hopes to raise awareness about hunger, solutions to hunger through fresh food production, and issues of racial equity in the food system. Every mile he clocks is arranged via pledgit.org as a fundraiser for The Lord’s Acre, to support ongoing operations and increased food production for hungry citizens.
Additionally, the giving farm, whose motto simply states “Everyone is hungry for something,” is encouraging and developing resources and programming that look at the root causes of hunger, from chronic poverty to issues of social equity.
“The Lord’s Acre is going through a rapid metamorphosis involving a fresh approach at inviting marginalized and underrepresented groups to our space to create a dialogue with them, to learn and grow with them, and to create a movement that transcends the Fairview community,” Whitlock explains. “The conference I’m attending in Arkansas has sessions on issues directly related to this mission, and a bike ride to raise awareness is a perfect way to connect the dots.”
In a way, community is growing around Whitlock’s ride even before it begins. Since Thanksgiving, his mission has been spread to farmers and gardeners throughout the South, as he seeks places to camp and groups to speak with along the way. To launch the ride, and the pledgeit campaign, Whitlock will appear at the Fairview Library on January 7th 2019 to discuss the inspiration for his ride, and share how folks can stay up to date as he pedals his route.