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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Sowing Seeds Bike Ride Tomorrow in Upper Milford

Although I think it's a tad tacky for Allentown to conduct a bike race on 9/11, you can actually ride in another bike event the following day in Upper Milford. It's the first ever Sowing Seeds Charity Bike Ride, and it will be staged from Jasper Park.

A 5-, 20- or 40-mile ride will benefit Lehigh County’s Seed Farm, a non-profit agricultural incubator that trains people to become farmers on 25-acres of land in Upper Milford.

Registration for any of the three bike routes is $25 in advance and $35 if you register the day of the event. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Start times for the three rides are staggered with the 40-mile group heading out at 8:30 a.m.

After the ride, bikers will be served a lunch of locally grown food at Jasper Park.

Lehigh County is a leader in farmland preservation, protecting more than 19,291 acres on 233 farms from urban sprawl and development. The agricultural incubator will help the county build a new era of farmers and agricultural professionals, said Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham.

“Agriculture and farming are a vital part of Lehigh County’s economy,” Cunningham said. “We have to approach economic development in that industry just as we would any other. Our goal is to allow prospective farmers to enter the business of agriculture without having to make huge investments in land and equipment.”

Participants are paired with mentor farmers in the program and given access to land, tractors and other equipment during their apprenticeship. Produce, such as lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes, and herbs and livestock raised on the Seed Farm are sold at local farmer’s markets.

If you'd like to become a Seed Farm apprentice, contact Jeff Zehr, Director of Farmland Preservation at 610-391-9583 ext. 15 or by email at jzehr@lehighconservation.org. The deadline is Nov. 1 and classes begin in February 2010.