Tuesday, April 28, 2020

#MyNonprofits Update: Deliver Seedlings by Bike on May 9 in San Jose

I have a calendar by my desk as I work from home. Because of COVID-19, there isn't anything on it - just two yellow sticky notes. One has the word TODAY written on it that I move from one day to the next. For quite a while, it has felt like there is no tomorrow - just another version of today. 

Speaking of today: San Jose Spotlight's coronavirus blog just reported the County of Santa Clara is extending their Shelter in Place order is going through May 31. So the other yellow sticky on my calendar - the one that reads 'lockdown ends' just moved up to the end of next month. Other than that, my calendar has seen no action.

But if you live near downtown San Jose, have either a bike with big panniers, a bike trailer or a cargo bike, you're going to mark your calendar with a blunt-point Sharpie: On Saturday, May 9th, Valley Verde needs your help to deliver seedlings by bike to area families.

Let me back up a second.

Valley Verde is, as of last night, one of #MyNonprofits. For those of you who don't know: #MyNonprofits is a campaign when you make a financial donation* to a different nonprofit every day for seven days or more, encourage others to donate, and nominate one friend or more each day to take the #MyNonprofits challenge. I started this because I was supposed to fly to Italy for vacation in May, and of course that was cancelled, so I reasoned that if I can't enrich my life abroad, I was going to take the money that would be used on the trip and help nonprofits that enrich other people's lives - including mine. 

I first visited Valley Verde last year - my wife and I rode our tandem on the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition's garden ride, and Valley Verde was one of the stops. Neither of us had heard of it before but we ended up taking an eggplant in the seatpost bag which survived the rest of the journey and later gave us an eggplant.

Like Veggielution (another one of #MyNonprofits) Valley Verde is a farm in San Jose that specializes in giving education and other programs to low-income families - as well as edible gardens. They teach how to grow their own food - like, real food**sold seedlings at their annual seedling fair, but like my vacation in Italy, that was cancelled which is a big loss for them and the families who use the seedlings. 

What Valley Verde is doing instead is giving the seedlings away to low income families. Let's skip ahead of their incredibly nice gesture and get to the rub: limited public transportation, no options for child care and other factors means a lot of people want seedlings but can't physically go get them. 

So the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is trying to get volunteers to help bring seedlings to families on Saturday, May 9. It is not an organized ride - it is a socially distanced one. This means you can't just show up with a cargo bike or a bike trailer or big panniers and take plants. What you need to do is click here to make an appointment to give away seedlings by bike and choose how many miles you wish to ride to deliver zucchini, peppers or other plants. 

The plants themselves are in containers - the size is about 6' x 10" by 10" -  so if you have a trailer or a cargo bike, you can carry a lot more plants and help a lot more people in one go. You drop the plants off at the addresses they give you - so it is 100% social distanced all the way.

So what I ask you today, the readers, is to make a donation to Valley Verde. I personally know the feeling that comes when a big fundraising event doesn't take place for a nonprofit and it is not a good feeling. So make a donation to Valley Verde, then share the Valley Verde donation page online. 

Next - if you have a bike that can carry plants that you can ride safely, live close enough to ride to Valley Verde, are free on May 9, then sign up to deliver seedlings. If you want to read something better written - and with more detail and fewer spelling errors - here's the Valley Verde post by Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition executive director Shiloh Ballard. 

That's all for now. Please check out the list of the nonprofits I have on #MyNonprofit list and take the #MyNonprofits challenge: give a little money to one nonprofit a day, ever day for seven days or more, and each time nominate a friend to do the same. COVID-19 is taking away a lot from us now but let's make sure it doesn't take even more from the less fortunate among ourselves later. Thanks for reading, thanks for riding (alone), and thanks for taking the #MyNonprofits challenge. 

*if it is the American Red Cross - blood if you prefer. Make an appointment to give blood online here.  

**I swear, every time I am in the grocery store I notice what someone is carrying in their baskets or trolleys and think "If the coronavirus doesn't kill you, that junk you plan to eat will." Don't get me started on the people who pull down their masks when they get outside to smoke a cigarette.


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