Food Justice and Farm Boxes
In our first year of starting Cowgirl Bike Courier, we partnered together with Veggielution Community Farm to create California’s first Zero-Emission CSA Farm Box Delivery program.
Through this program, we delivered twenty-five farm boxes a month throughout San Jose. In our first year, we traveled over twelve hundred miles by bicycle, resulting in over two metric tons of C02 emissions being offset in our first year. We were doing amazing work.
We could have done more.
In particular, there was one Farm Box subscriber that perplexed us. Every other month the subscription would cease for a period of time, only to unexpectedly start back up again. The inconsistency raised my curiosity, and so I delved deeper to find the root cause.
The subscriber in question lived a mile and a half away from the farm. When she could afford it, she’d have her Subsidized Farm Box delivered to her door. If she couldn’t, she would have had to walk the three mile round trip to pick up her subscription. This was the reason for the inconsistency in her subscription. The realization broke our hearts.
We discussed the idea of providing free delivery for this subscriber with my business partner. During that time, we were still within our first year of business, and could only afford one courier for CSA delivery. If we were to allow free delivery to one subsidized Farm Box, we’d have to offer the option to all 20 subsidized subscriptions. The workload was more than we were prepared to take on, and more of a financial burden than the company could afford.
Now in our second year, we can afford to do things differently. With a fleet of 10 couriers we’re set to extend our services from 25 boxes a month, to 25 boxes a week. We’ve been put in charge of handling all CSA deliveries, including distribution to Drop Points throughout San Jose. Our first year of providing Zero-Emission CSA Subscriptions was well received and helped both Veggielution and ourselves extend our reach of influence.
We have applied for a Knight Emerging City Champions Grant. This $5,000 grant would allow us to provide the underserved of East Side San Jose with free Farm Box Delivery. Nobody should have to go without fresh fruits and vegetables simply because they don’t have the means of transportation. Having any means of transportation is a privilege. Having access to food is a right.