It’s one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the United States…perhaps even the world.
It’s one of the first cities to have ever banned plastic bags – a move that they are paying for in huge lawsuits from the plastic bag manufacturers.
Regardless of this potential blunder, San Francisco is a bustling city that is full of good food and green ideas.
A former architect has taken this to a whole new level. He’s created what is possibly the first pedal-powered urban agriculture business to ever pop up in San Francisco.
Hailing from a past that involved designing buildings for maximum efficiency and structure, this man decided that there was something missing in his life; something that could be solved by getting back to the Earth and really getting in touch with the environment in a whole new way.
He began to experiment with growing plants in his backyard and immediately found that he had a knack for gardening and farming.
Eager to expand his practice, he rented out neighbouring backyards and turned his hobby into a full-time business.
Pretty soon, he was doing around $40,000 in produce sales per year from this little urban farmstead, but he wasn’t content to stop there.
No, he had to figure out a way to introduce greener practices into every aspect of his business. He wasn’t content to just well his produce from the backyards of neighbourhoods.
Instead, he wanted to serve as an example to all aspiring urban farmers and come up with a production system that was truly green from the ground up.
To do this, he decided to ditch the familiar trucking system that most farmers have in place.
That would waste too much gas, expel too much carbon dioxide into the environment, and cause too much noise for his neighbourhood.
It was a fully unsustainable option, even if it would cut down on the delivery time by quite a bit.
Going Back to Bikes
Instead, he decided to turn to a tried and true method for getting around cities and towns that has been around for ages: bicycles.
These allowed for humans to be the fuel, and for cleaner air, less noise, and a better sense of community spirit.
By switching to beach cruiser style bicycles that he got for free from local thrift shops, along with purchasing a few online, he was able to employ a larger amount of delivery people, allowing for his neighbourhood’s unemployment rate to drop a little bit.
It wasn’t by much, but every little bit counts when you’re trying to do something big.
Eventually, this farm managed to produce around $600,000 per year in revenue and employ about 10-15 people, depending on the season.
Remember, this is all in the middle of San Francisco, not way out in the boondocks somewhere!
It’s something that is going to be extremely profitable for others to do in the future, simply due to the fact that this one man has led the charge and showed the rest of the world that it is a profitable way to do business.
It all comes down to the cruiser bicycles. Without them, he would just be another person out there trying to turn a buck in the urban gardening movement that has been sweeping the nation – the world, even.
It is by incorporating some good old fashioned human labor that he has been able to capture the hearts and minds of those in his city and ensure that he gets repeat business.
There are a lot of people who are environmentally conscious up in San Francisco, and they are willing to drop a supplier at a moment’s notice if they don’t like the way that they do business. It’s just a fact of life up there.
It might actually be for the better, because it encourages more people to conduct business in a better way for both the people in the surrounding community and the environment itself.
We’re not going to be here forever, and the Earth needs as much help a we can possibly give it – even if that means just grabbing some cheap cruiser bicycles and delivering produce the old fashioned way.
- The $9 cardboard bicycle (boingboing.net)
- E-bikes’slip between the cracks of legislation’ (lfpress.com)
- Americans Consider Powered Pedals, Electric Bicycle Sales Surge (sustainablebusiness.com)