Tillamook County Creamery Assoc sponsorship highlights the power of food
Anyone who has ridden a bike knows how hungry this activity can make you. Without this basic need met, riders cannot explore our cities, get to work or connect with our community. Our partnership with the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) highlights the importance of food within the context of community organizing and youth programs. TCCA is a longtime supporter of food security and community health initiatives in Oregon. This year they donated funds for the CCC to provide meals and snacks for all of our bike programs– astounding support for which we’re very grateful.
Our Youth and Community programming is often organized around food. Whether it’s to the corner store for an icy treat on a hot day or a trip to the taqueria at the end of a ride, food is a powerful motivator for our campers who are oftentimes just getting into biking. It’s something to look forward to while pedaling up a hill and a comforting reward after riding multiple miles. Bikes are an incredibly flexible tool that can be used to explore food in many different ways.
The support TCCA provided this year has created an amazing impact in our programs and inspired many creative ideas for the future!
The CCC has been operating the Bike Repair Hub in the North Portland New Columbia neighborhood since 2010. It is a community space where residents can bring their bikes for free repairs, learn new skills and connect with each other. It is popular with the students of the nearby school and children who live in the neighborhood. Many of the kids who visit the Hub often express hunger. Being able to provide food for them helps to create a safe and welcoming space. In addition to food and snacks being available for anyone who visits, CCC staff have also been organizing community BBQs to celebrate the opening of the Hub in the spring and closing at the end of summer. These BBQs are a joyful time, draw a lot of neighbors and are so popular that the food often runs out!
Like at the Hub, food played a central role in our Community Camps this summer. Campers often arrive in the mornings hungry and staff have been able to provide breakfast to help prepare everyone for a day of riding and exploring. Our camps often ride upwards of 10 miles in a day which works up quite an appetite and burns a lot of calories! The anticipation of a visit to the corner store at the end of the ride for a cool treat helps many kids stay engaged and pedaling. Such visits also offer opportunities to learn new skills like how to safely lock up a bike during a store visit or selecting their own food within a budget. Our Youth Programs staff were excited to expand on similar skill building this summer with many visits to the food cart pods all over Portland. Campers learned about the importance of tipping and even how to combine their budgets to afford specific items. On top of learning so many skills they also got an opportunity to expand their cultural experience by trying many new kinds of food!
Our partnership with Andando en Bicicletas y Caminando (ABC) also highlights the power of food to connect and to comfort. ABC is a group of Latiné organizers who unite the community with activities and events to spread awareness about the benefits of bicycling and walking. Their group events often end with a visit to a food cart pod and their planning meetings are held during collaborative community meals. CCC staff who support ABC see the importance of food for this group and often reflect on the central role it plays in their organizing and effect on the community.
While the focus of our mission is on expanding access to bicycling, we cannot ignore the role food plays in our work. Food creates comfort and safety for our community. Food motivates and nourishes community action. Food creates joy and celebration! We believe that ensuring access to food must be an essential part of how we work. Our partnership with the Tillamook County Creamery Association has been key to our success. Being able to provide more food and nutrition for our campers, students and community members this year has been transformative and we are excited about how we can expand on this work in the future!