For the past five years, Green Space Alliances of South Texas has put on the fundraiser that benefits the Community Gardens Program by bringing in resources to start new gardens, enhance existing ones, and educate the volunteer gardeners that help with upkeep. It also serves as a fun and educational experience for the families and individuals that participate in the 3.1-mile walk, or 7.5-, 11-, or 25-mile bike tour.
SicloVerde is one of several events taking place across the city for National Bike Month, which promotes the many benefits of biking as a mode for active, eco-friendly transport.
“Each of the different communities have things that make them special and we can learn from each other,” said Earn-A-Bike Co-op founder Cristian Sandoval. The nonprofit bike co-op was closed on Saturday so that staff and participants could support the ride. “So the idea of going and seeing what everyone else is doing is going to inspire us to do things, personally I’m trying to look for ideas to do in my garden and I think that this tour will help me a lot.”
Just after 8 a.m., three different route groups took off into the streets to visit between two and 12 different gardens around the center city. The routes were chosen carefully to take advantage of bike-friendly streets and show off particularly picturesque parts of neighborhoods that might be overlooked in a car. Those on the 25-mile bike tour visited San Juan Historic Farms and a new garden at the Mission Branch Library.
Each stop gave participants the opportunity to learn about the history of the garden as well as a few regional gardening practices from the garden stewards and representatives, while also viewing a multitude of fruits, herbs, and vegetables that are for the community’s enjoyment. But aside from providing fresh produce for residents, the more than 40 community gardens across the city serve other purposes like promoting exercise and community engagement.
Some gardens also serve as homes to vital host plants for a range of pollinator insects. Since recently being named a Monarch Champion City by the National Wildlife Federation, San Antonio has made a push to incorporate more milkweed plants into private and community gardens such as those visited on Saturday.
“I really admire the Green Spaces Alliance because they got together, they’re working as a team and they are really working towards the betterment of San Antonio,” Sandoval said. “And now that they’re inviting the cyclists to be part of it I think it is a magnificent initiative and idea. ”
After an active morning, all were invited for a complimentary lunch at 5 Points Local, which donated part of its proceeds from the lunch to Green Space Alliances.
To learn more about San Antonio’s community gardens, click here.